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Airplane mechanic charged in Iran deal

Nov. 29, 2012 at 7:16 PM

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.

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