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The Nation : Two Surrender in Copter Smuggling Case

December 04, 1987

An arms dealer and his son surrendered to U.S. Customs Service agents on charges they tried to smuggle combat helicopters to Iraq and hired U.S. Air Force reserve officers to train Iraqis to fly jets captured from Iran. Also indicted separately in the case were two former Hughes Helicopter executives, Carl D. Perry and William Ellis, accused of helping arrange the helicopter deal and a TOW missile shipment. The Lebanese-born arms dealer, Sarkis Soghanalian, 58, and his son, Garabet, are charged with trying to ship the helicopters to Iraq in 1983 under the guise of shipping them to Kuwait. Each of them faces up to 30 years in prison. The two reserve officers were identified by Customs as Michael Chinn, a Federal Aviation Administration inspector assigned to Soghanalian's Miami-based air cargo company, Pan Aviation Inc., and Eugene Jackson.

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