I have wondered about the persistent zeal of the DoJ in pursuing a criminal case against Bill Aossey, the owner of Midamar Corp., for irregularities in meat exports that may or may not have caused those exports to violate a ban imposed by several countries on the import of non-halal meat products. You can read more about the prosecution of Mr. Aossey here, here, and here. There have been persistent rumors that somehow or other Aossey was involved in smuggling arms to Lebanon. Now we know where those rumors came from.
On Wednesday, a Cedar Rapids newspaper announced that various members of the Herz family, who apparently had been employed at Midamar and were friends with Aossey, were indicted for, among other things, unlicensed exports of firearms to Lebanon. The indictment alleges that the arms were hidden by the Herz defendants inside Bobcat skid loaders that were placed in containers shipped from Midamar’s loading docks.
This issue apparently came up after Bill Aossey’s conviction when the prosecution argued that Aossey should be jailed pending sentencing. They based their argument on his association with the Herz family and the use of Midamar facilities by Herz to engage in the illegal gun exports. Aossey claimed that the containers, which belonged to the Herz defendants, was also being used by Midamar to ship relief items to Lebanon and that he did not know that guns were hidden in the skid loaders. The prosecution, on the other hand, said this:
Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Murphy admitted there wasn’t direct information tying Aossey to buying or smuggling guns. But he argued it was difficult to believe Aossey didn’t know about it.
There is a compliance lesson here hidden among the meat, guns, skid loaders and relief items: don’t share shipping containers, even with your best friends.