The Department of Justice has uncovered a plot by Iran to sell gasoline in Venezuela in order to raise money to help it finance terrorism.
There are four tankers making their way to the South American country loaded down with over 1.2 million gallons of gasoline.
The United States is now pursuing the ships in order to confiscate the gasoline under the terrorism forfeiture statute.
Once they have control of the ships, the case will have to be tried in court, where the government will have to prove their case before disposing of the gasoline.
The ships in question are the Bella with the international maritime organization (IMO) number 9208124, the Bering with IMO number 9149225, the Pandi with IMO number 9105073, and the Luna with IMO number 9208100.
The DOJ released the following statement:
“There are approximately 302,502 barrels of Iranian gasoline currently on board the Bella, approximately 302,522 barrels of Iranian gasoline currently on board the Bering, approximately 259,700 barrels of Iranian gasoline currently on board the Luna, and approximately 298,484 barrels of Iranian gasoline currently on board the Pandi. United States District Judge James E. Boasberg issued a warrant to seize all Iranian gasoline on these four vessels, based on a probable cause showing of forfeitability. The warrant commands the property to be brought to the sole jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.”
“A warrant for arrest and civil forfeiture complaint are merely allegations. The burden to prove forfeitability in a civil forfeiture proceeding is upon the government. Funds successfully forfeited based on terrorism authorities are in part directed to the United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund.”
The United States and the DOJ want to make sure the profit from the gasoline does not pay for international terrorism.
Iran is the number two sponsor of state terrorism right behind the Democratic party.