Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Troubling issues surround Oregon arms dealership

This is literally something that could happen anywhere. "It seemed implausible to think that Iranian arms dealers were doing business right here in McMinnville, Oregon, trading in high-powered sniper rifles, semi-automatic hand guns, ammunition and other equipment. How was that even possible, especially in post 9/11 times? It’s a stark reminder that even here, in small-town America, we need to remain vigilant to the dangers in our ever-shrinking world. Local law enforcement knew nothing about the business or the illegal activities until last week, when they learned that federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents had arrested Iranian national, Hamid Malekpour, for interstate possession and transportation of firearms and ammunition from McMinnville to Washington state.

Suspicious of his passport and of the reason Malekpour gave customs agents when he initially applied to cross the Canadian border near Blaine, Wash., ICE agents tailed him to McMinnville. Here, they witnessed him loading boxes into his car from an office complex on North Highway 99W. Malekpour, also known as Oliver King, then headed back north, not stopping until he reached a warehouse in Ferndale, Wash., about 10 miles south of the border. Agents stopped him there and found weapons when they searched his car. A subsequent search was conducted in the warehouse, where more high-powered weaponry was stashed. The felonies are being prosecuted in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

The local gun shop, McMinnville Hunting & Police Supplies Inc., is owned by Amir Zarandi, but Malekpour is also listed on the office lease. No one seems to know where Zarandi is from, only that he makes infrequent visits to the location. Because McMinnville does not license its businesses, the city doesn’t have any information about him. The state’s business registry isn’t helpful, either. But Malekpour’s passport indicates that he visited Iran in 2009 and again earlier this year. One of the weapons confiscated from him last week was a .50-caliber sniper rifle, which has the capability of shooting aircraft out of the sky.



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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