A retired Army colonel and two other men were charged Monday with trying to sell military helicopters adapted for spraying chemicals to Iraq.
Customs Service agents said they did not know if Iraq intended to use the Bell OH-58A helicopters for chemical warfare.
“Military helicopters only have one use and that is a military use,” said Ken Prager, head of the Customs Service in Miami. “You draw your own conclusions.”
Iraq has been under a U.N. trade embargo since the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
The 34 helicopters valued at about $12.5 million were seized at a warehouse in Canada.
Retired Army Col. Robert Fairchild, 53, of Little Rock, Ark., and Donald Proven, 56, a former Marine from Chicago, were arraigned Monday on Arms Export Control Act and conspiracy charges. After an innocent plea was entered, bond was set at $125,000 each.
George Finlay, 47, who owned the helicopters, was arrested on similar charges Saturday by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Bloomfield, Canada.
The other men were arrested Friday in Jupiter, Fla., in a hotel where they met with Customs Service agents acting as buyers.
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