Oklahoman pleads guilty to smuggling guns to Middle East

  • Oklahoman pleads guilty to smuggling guns to Middle East

OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma man has admitted to illegally shipping firearms to the Middle East.

Randy Lew Williams, 56, of Edmond, pleaded guilty in federal court to three firearms violations, U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Downing recently announced.

An affidavit in support of a criminal complaint alleges that the Federal Bureau of Investigation Legal Attaché in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, notified the FBI Oklahoma City Field Office that a FedEx shipment had been seized on Dec. 19, 2018.

The shipment contained multiple Glock pistol parts “concealed inside toolboxes and tools,” an FBI agent reported. Documentation indicated the shipment was sent from Oklahoma City on Nov. 30, 2018, by Williams, at an address in Oklahoma City. The commercial invoice indicated the shipment contained tools and that the intended recipient was Rebwar Hamid in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq.

During an interview with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authorities in Chicago on Jan. 8, 2019, Williams said he met Rebwar Hamid in 2015 when the latter was a commander of the Peshmerga group, which is described in the affidavit as “a Kurdish guerrilla organization that fights for a free Kurdish state in Iraq.” Williams also told CBP that he “had previously fought” with Rebwar Hamid and spent time at his home in Sulaymaniyah, and that he “stays in contact” with Hamid through Facebook.

Dubai authorities and the FBI re-examined the shipment on Jan. 24, 2019, and discovered more Glock gun parts concealed alongside reciprocating saws in the cargo, the agent wrote.

The FBI learned from Fed- Ex on Dec. 30, 2019, that the shipment was returned to a FedEx facility in south Oklahoma City, where it was 

picked up by an “R. Williams” on Nov. 27, 2019.

Records of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) identified Williams as having bought 10 Glock pistols and some Glock parts in Oklahoma City between July 19 and Sept. 1, 2018. Three of those pistols and some of the Glock parts were “discovered concealed within the shipment,” the FBI agent wrote in his affidavit.

Additionally, FBI authorities later learned that between January 2018 and October 2018, Williams received $12,761 in 13 wire transfers from Sweden. Williams later admitted he received the wire transfers “for the purpose of purchasing firearms,” and also acknowledged having sent two rifles to Iraq “hidden with torque wrenches,” the FBI agent states in his affidavit.

Williams indicated that after the package was intercepted in Dubai, individuals attempted to “talk him ‘out of coming back home’” but he decided to return to the U.S., the affidavit reports.

On Feb. 25, 2020, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service notified the FBI that Williams was living at an apartment complex in Edmond, where he was a maintenance worker.

The affidavit states that Williams did not have a Federal Firearms License from the ATF or authority from the Department of Defense to export defense articles (i.e., weapons) outside the United States.

Williams pleaded guilty to violating the Arms Export Control Act.

He also pleaded guilty to knowingly making a false and fictitious statement to a firearms dealer in The Village, Okla., in connection with his acquisition of three Glock pistols and two Glock pistol frames, and was in possession of an unregistered Spikes Tactical 5.56-caliber rifle that had a barrel of less than 16 inches.

Williams faces up to 20 years in prison for the Arms Export Control Act violation and up to 10 years in prison on each of the other two counts. Sentencing will take place in approximately 90 days, Downing said.

“This case is a result of an investigation by the FBI – Oklahoma City Field Office, the ATF, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations, with assistance from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service,” plus the Oklahoma City and Edmond police departments, Downing said.