Once again I have paid a visit to one of my favorite hunting grounds, in search of material for a commentary. My visit to that website, the website where ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) posts its news releases yielded the news release that serves as the predication for this commentary.
I have provided you, below, with a copy of that news release that was issued on May 31, 2011. Beneath the ICE new release I have also provided you with a news article that was posted by the local television news program that aired on Television Station KATU about one year ago, on May 25, 2010 that reported on the arrest of the defendant whose sentencing was announced in the ICE news release. You will notice that the KATU news article contains a link to the video of the broadcast and also provides links to copies of the court document that provides more details about this case.
Certainly the successful prosecution of a weapons dealer who was engaged in criminal activities is something that those who worked on this case should be extremely proud of.
What is disturbing to me is that while ICE touted the fact that the defendant in this case, a Canadian citizen by the name of Oliver King, aka Hamid Malekpour, was convicted of committing weapons violations and the additional crime of lying to CBP (Customs and Border Protection) inspectors when he entered the United States as he crossed the land border that is supposed to separate the United States from Canada, so many more extremely important details were not noted in the news release and this causes me to wonder if, perhaps, ICE missed some important opportunities to make additional arrests and gather additional intelligence.
I am always troubled when the news media provides more insight into a successful prosecution than does DHS, the agency that is charged with defending our nation.
Please check out the Associated Press news report that appeared on the Oregon Live website on May 20, 2010, just over one year ago that was entitled,
“Canadian gun dealer who obtained weapons in
McMinnville arrested after feds find ammo”
Here is a link to that news report:
In reviewing te article you will notice that there are many disturbing details not noted in the ICE news release although you would expect that the agency that is supposed to focus on issues involving passports and the international movement of aliens who wind up in the United States was not even noted in the ICE press release.
Here is a quote from the news report:
The Iranian native also lied about why he had a new Canadian
passport just issued that morning, the complaint said. He told border
guards that his old one had gone through the wash, but agents found
it during a secondary inspection — with no water damage. The old
one, which was not set to expire until 2013, had been canceled, but
it was not immediately clear why.
It had three visas for
Iran, two issued last year and one issued this year. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement agents tailed King as he left the border
crossing. He drove to McMinnville, where he went to a gun shop and
loaded his car with the guns and high-caliber ammunition. Agents say
he then drove north to the Ferndale storage unit, where he had
$30,000 worth of sniper rifles, handguns and ammo.
There was no mention in the ICE press release that at the time he was arrested, Mr. King attempted to conceal a second Canadian passport that, according to the news report, had three visas for Iran and that two of those visas had been issued in 2009 and the third had been issued in 2010. It must be presumed that he had been making routine trips to Iran. Given the many threats posed by Iran to the security of our nation and, in fact to people throughout the world, this issue of King’s apparent frequent trips to Iran and his being charged with an apparently significant weapons stockpile that was being maintained in the United States certainly paints a far more disturbing picture about what the defendant in this case might be up to.
There was absolutely no mention in the ICE press release that Oliver King, aka Hamid Malekpour was apparently a naturalized Canadian citizen who had immigrated to Canada from Iran. I remind you that Iran is on the list of “Special Interest” countries- that is to say, countries identified as being the state sponsors of terrorism. Next I want you to note the fact that the weapons that Mr. King was identified as being prosecuted for were not target pistols or other such self defense firearms, but were identified in the newspaper report as including sniper rifles as well as handguns and ammo that, purportedly, were worth $30,000.
The report said that he had taken the weapons and ammo from a gun store known as “McMinnville Hunting and Police Supplies.”
I find several facts about the purported gun store to be troubling. First of all, when you watch the video you will notice that the “store” was located in a nondescript office building and there was no way to know that a gun store or any other sort of “store” was located in that building. In fact, the video clip showed a small sign affixed to the door of the “store” that stated that if you want to do business with this establishment, you must do so “by appointment.”
This is, to put it mildly, an extremely odd way for any business to operate- but where a gun shop is concerned, this is truly bizarre. The televised news remote indicated that local law enforcement did not even know that there was a gun shop in the office building where the gun shop was located.
Furthermore, King was identified as being on the lease for the establishment. The lease was purportedly arranged for last year and was to run for a period of five years.
The fact that King had moved the weapons from a gun shop he is intimately involved in to a storage facility is extremely troubling. As a matter of routine, gun shops are secure establishments where guns are securely stored. Why on earth would the owner of a gun shop move a large supply of guns and ammunition to a storage facility? Was he preparing to disperse them to others? If so, who was supposed to receive these high powered weapons?
How many similar weapons caches have been similarly disposed of?
How and why did King (Malekpour) become intimately involved in a gun shop when he is not a citizen of the United States and not even a permanent resident of the United States? Has anyone at ICE checked into the possibility that he had claimed to be a United States citizen when this gun shop was issued a federal firearms license?
The news report also noted that the name of the owner of the gun shop is a guy by the name of Amir Zarandi, purportedly a citizen of the United States. I would certainly hope that ICE investigated Zarandi to determine if he is a United States citizen. Next, presuming it is determined that Zarandi is a citizen of the United States, the next issue would be to determine if he acquired citizenship by being born in the United States or through the naturalization process. If his citizenship resulted from the naturalization process, I wold hope that ICE would conduct an investigation into the possibility that fraud may have been involved in his applications for both residency and citizenship. Certainly he would need to be a United States citizen in order to legally operate a gun shop.
Time and again the advocates for open borders and sweeping amnesty programs under the aegis of “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” or the “DREAM Act” claim that immigration has nothing to do with crime or terrorism.
They need to wake up to the reality that our nation’s immigration laws are supposed to prevent the entry of aliens into our country would represent a threat to the safety and well being of our nation and our citizens. Both of our nation’s borders must be made secure and the immigration system by which aliens acquire lawful immigrant status and United States citizenship must have integrity.
The effective enforcement and administration of our nation’s immigration laws are, arguably, among the most important of all missions that are supposed to be carried out by our federal government.
Nothing less than the security of our nation and safety of our citizens hang in the balance!
A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!
our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!
We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.
My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.
The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.
If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same. We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”
The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.
The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!
The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians. I implore you to resolve this year to get involved!
I believe our nation’s is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world. However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda!
If this situation concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!
All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!
We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.
This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!
You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!
Democracy is not a spectator sport!
Lead, follow or get out of the way!
Please check out my website:
May 31, 2011
Convicted weapons dealer sentenced to federal prison
Defendant stashed firearms in storage facility near Canadian border
SEATTLE – A resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, convicted on weapons charges and for lying to federal border officers was sentenced to six years and 10 months in federal prison, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Oliver King, who is also known as Hamid Malekpour, 35, was ordered to serve three years of supervised release at the end of his prison sentence. A federal jury convicted King in January of unlawful dealing in firearms, being a non-immigrant alien in possession of firearms, and three counts of making false statements to a government agency.
ICE HSI Agents arrested King on May 19, 2010, in Ferndale, Wash., after King traveled from Canada to McMinnville, Ore., and back to Ferndale over a two-day period. At the time of his arrest, he had 21 weapons in his possession
According to testimony at trial and court documents, King repeatedly lied to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers when he entered the United States from Canada. For example, on May 18, 2010, King said he was coming to the United States to pick up his wife at a store in Bellingham, Wash.
Instead, he drove to McMinnville, Ore., where he picked up boxes of firearms and ammunition from McMinnville Hunting and Police Supply. He had established this business with a U.S. citizen, but hid his ownership role from regulators. As a non-immigrant alien, he is prohibited from possessing firearms.
The next morning, King drove to a storage unit he maintained in Ferndale and unloaded the boxes of weapons and ammunition. He was met by HSI agents and arrested at the storage facility where 21 high-end firearms were seized.
“This prison sentence brings an end to an investigation that exposed international weapons trafficking and clear violations of federal law. The defendant is no longer in a position to illegally traffic in weapons and needlessly threaten the safety and security of the public,” said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Seattle.
Prosecutors urged a lengthy sentence for King saying his actions put the public at serious risk. They wrote in the sentencing memo, “Firearms are dangerous and those that Mr. King was convicted of possessing are particularly lethal. The possession, purchase and sale of firearms are highly regulated for this reason. By scheming to obtain, possess and deal in this type of firearms, across international borders, Mr. King’s actions put the public at risk, and a lengthy sentence is necessary to protect the public, in the United States and abroad, from further crimes of the defendant.”
ICE HSI was joined by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives in this investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Susan Roe and Matthew Diggs.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.
ICE is a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities. For more information, visit www.ICE.gov. To report suspicious activity, call 1-866-347-2423.