ROCHESTER, N.Y., Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Three Yemeni immigrants conspired to put more than $100,000 into overseas bank accounts they thought were controlled by Hezbollah, U.S. prosecutors say.
Shopkeepers, Yehia Ali Ahmed Alomari, 28; Mohamed Al Huraibi, 52, and Saleh Mohamed Taher Saeed, 30, are standing trial on money-laundering charges in U.S. District Court in Rochester, N.Y., The (Rochester) Democrat and Chronicle reported Monday.
Prosecutors said the three were caught in a sting operation in which they allegedly agreed to illegally transport the funds to what they thought were accounts controlled by the Lebanese militant group, which has been classified as a terrorist organization by U.S. officials.
But U.S. District Judge Charles Siragusa has ruled neither Hezbollah nor terrorism can be mentioned in the trial because they men were charged with money-laundering, rather than terrorism-related counts, the newspaper reported. The men's indictment reportedly makes no mention of terrorism or Hezbollah.
The Democrat and Chronicle said defense attorneys have challenged the testimony of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent who may have destroyed his notes in violation of policy.