Three Defendants Plead Innocent In Cluster Bomb Case
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Three men pleaded innocent Monday to charges they offered to sell Saudi Arabia and Iraq stolen U.S. plans for making cluster bombs.
The men are each charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of receipt of stolen government property, two counts of export of U.S. Munitions List articles without authority from the the State Department, and two counts of false statements on an export control document.
Richard Herman Schroeder, 55, of Diamond Bar, Anthony George Cenci, 61, of Costa Mesa, and Richard P. Nortman, 59, of Los Angeles, entered their pleas before U.S. Magistrate James Penne, who set trial for April 28 before U.S. District Judge Pamela Ann Rymer.
Schroeder and Cenci also face two counts each of illegal export of U.S. Munitions List articles in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.
Defense motions were set for April 20, but attorneys for the men said they would seek an earlier bail hearing for their clients, who are being held without bail.
Among documents seized during a search last month of Schroeder’s home were letters indicating that the defendants were trying to interest a company owned by international arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi in marketing the cluster bombs, an FBI agent declared.
FBI Special Agent Rudolph Valadez said Schroeder had advised Mohammed A. Khashoggi of Triad America in Salt Lake City that he had developed videotape presentations for two proposals.
″I know from my investigation of this matter that Richard H. Schroeder was in contact with Triad International in hopes of interesting Mohammed A. Khashoggi to market the CEM (combined effects munitions) weapon - also known as ‘cluster bomb,’ Valadez wrote.
Triad America is owned by Triad International, a company run by arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, who has a son named Mohammed A. The affidavit filed by Valadez did not definitively say the Mohammed A. mentioned by Schroeder was Khashoggi’s son.
Agents also said they found a copy of a letter from Schroeder to Mohammed A. Khashoggi about plans to travel to Saudi Arabia.
Government attorneys have said the information the men had about the weapons was sufficient to build a cluster bomb. They also said agents believe documents on the bomb may have been sent out of the country, and could be in the hands of a munitions manufacturer in West Germany or Saudi Arabia.
Also found were proposals to make the cluster bomb available to Iraq, Valadez said. He said a plan to make the weapon available to the Middle East country in its war with Iran was outlined in letters to Commercial Counselor Yousef Abdul Rahman of the Iraqi Embassy in Washington on Oct. 27 and again on Jan. 18.
A cluster bomb is a general term used for aerial bomb packages, usually in the form of canisters, that deliver several smaller munitions, called bomblets, at targets. Cluster bombs are known to come as both anti-personnel and anti-armored vehicle weapons.