Georgian Nationals Charged with Money Laundering and Weapons Dealing in FBI Sting Operation

DOJ charges Yohanan Eligoola over money laundering
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In the U.S., Georgian national Yohanan Eligoola, 58, and his son David Eligoola, 34, have been charged with attempting to launder over $500,000, which they believed to be proceeds from a drug cartel. This case, brought forward by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, also involves allegations of Yohanan attempting to sell military-grade weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, to undercover FBI agents posing as cartel members.

The FBI coordinated the arrests, apprehending Yohanan Eligoola in New York City and his son in Miami, Florida. These arrests highlight the FBI’s broader strategy to infiltrate and disrupt organized crime operations, including money laundering and illegal arms sales. The operation has drawn attention due to its dramatic uncovering of an attempt to sell advanced weaponry, including proposals for transactions involving Stinger missiles aimed at combating government forces, specifically helicopters.

According to the FBI, the Eligoolas were duped by undercover agents into believing they were dealing with cartel operatives needing laundering services for their narcotics proceeds. Throughout 2023, the Eligoolas and their associates allegedly handled substantial sums of cash on multiple occasions, converting these into laundered cryptocurrency and bank wires, subtracting a fee for their services.

Moreover, Yohanan Eligoola boasted about his capacity to launder up to $1 million per day, reassuring the agents that the transactions would not raise bank suspicions. Beyond financial crimes, Yohanan was keen to expand into lucrative arms deals, suggesting he had significant control over portions of the defense industry in an unnamed country and could supply a range of military equipment at marked-up prices due to their ‘black market’ nature.

The case is now being prosecuted by the Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit of the Southern District of New York, with both Eligoolas facing up to 20 years in prison if convicted. However, it is important to note that these charges are merely accusations at this stage, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. This case underscores the ongoing challenges law enforcement faces in tackling the sophisticated operations of global organized crime.

CategoriesUS DOJ

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