Grand Rapids man charged with overseas gun smuggling enters plea deal

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A Grand Rapids man charged with smuggling handguns to Lebanon has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act.

Gilbert Elian entered the plea Friday in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids. He faces up to 5 years in prison when sentenced.

Elian was arrested last year. Agents say he bought and transported dozens of handguns. Twenty disassembled guns were found in June in a shipment of auto parts bound for Beirut as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials investigated gun smuggling.

He indicated that he didn’t know he needed an export license and said the guns were properly checked in by airport security.

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