FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Nov. 29 (UPI) -- An airplane mechanic living in Texas could spend 20 years in prison if he is convicted of trying to ship seven commercial jets to Iran, his lawyer says.
Diocenyr Ribamar Barbosa-Santos, 52, of Fort Worth was arrested Nov. 2, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. He allegedly met with an undercover federal agent in Fort Lauderdale in February after the government got a tip he was working on a deal involving China and Iran.
R. William Barner III -- a Sunrise, Fla., lawyer who is representing Barbosa-Santos -- said there is no suggestion his client hoped to supply Iran with any military equipment.
After years of sanctions, Iran's fleet of commercial planes is aging, contributing to a high rate of crashes.
"It's not every day that someone walks into your office with a charge like this," Barner said.
Federal agencies have released few details about the alleged scheme. They say Barbosa-Santos hoped to buy the planes from China, resell them to Iran and then ship them, presumably with the cooperation of corrupt Chinese officials.