Friday, July 2, 2010

Claremont man accused of weapon's smuggling

First there was the donut shop ivory smugglers. Now Claremont has another accused smuggler, this time in heavy weaponry.

Joseph O'Toole, 79, is accused by federal prosecutors in Florida of attempting to broker a deal that would send as many as 2000 AK-47s to Somalia, a country with a UN-imposed arms embargo since 1992.

Today, Somalia is known for its lawlessness that has allowed piracy to flourish in the waters off its coast.

O'Toole and a co-conspirator, Israeli national Chanoch Miller, were both arrested in June in Florida. According to the indictment, the men unknowingly communicated their flight and payment plans for the weapons deal with an undercover agent from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Many in the community know O'Toole as a friendly man who is active and involved in the community. He ran for city council in 1997 and has been a vocal opponent of the Base Line affordable housing project in recent years. I even wrote about O'Toole a couple months back on an unrelated topic here.

His arraignment hearing is tentatively scheduled for July 9 in Ft. Lauderdale. A more detailed report of Mr. O'Toole's alleged crimes will appear in Saturday's edition of the COURIER.

1 comment:

  1. What was he thinking? 2000 AK47s to Somalia? With only a $4000 comission. What a strange person!