Appeals court upholds prison terms in gun smuggling case

June 11, 2018

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — An appeals court has upheld prison sentences for three relatives who conspired to illegally ship guns and ammunition from Iowa to Lebanon.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday rejected arguments from Ali Herz, his brother Bassem Herz and Bassem’s wife Sarah Zeaiter.

The court upheld sentences of roughly 28 years for Ali Herz, 8 years for Bassem and 7 years for Zeaiter, rejecting various arguments that they were too long.

Ali Herz’s son and a Lebanese businessman are also serving time in the conspiracy.

Federal agents arrested the relatives in 2015 after intercepting shipments of firearms and ammunition that were being sent from Cedar Rapids to Lebanon. They say the defendants began stockpiling firearms and accessories at stores and gun shows in Iowa in 2014 and sold them at huge profit margins in Lebanon.

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