Four Charged in Connection With Smuggling Iranian-Made Weapons; Operation Resulted in Tragic Deaths of Two Navy SEALs

Four foreign nationals are facing charges related to the transport of suspected Iranian-made weapons, following a recent interdiction by U.S. naval forces in the Arabian Sea. Tragically, two Navy SEALs lost their lives during the mission.

The incident occurred on January 11 when U.S. Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers was boarding a vessel, and due to high waves, slipped into a gap between the boat and the SEALs’ combatant craft. In an act of bravery, Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram jumped in to rescue Chambers, resulting in both SEALs losing their lives.

The criminal complaint alleges that the four defendants were transporting suspected Iranian-made missile components, specifically for weapons used by Houthi rebel forces in recent attacks. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco highlighted the severity of the situation, stating that the flow of such weaponry from Iran to Houthi rebels in Yemen poses a direct threat to the people and interests of the United States and its regional partners.

In a news release, Monaco expressed the gravity of the situation, saying, “Two Navy SEALs tragically lost their lives in the operation that thwarted the defendants charged today from allegedly smuggling Iranian-made weapons that the Houthis could have used to target American forces and threaten freedom of navigation and a vital artery for commerce.”

The main defendant, Muhammad Pahlawan, faces charges of attempting to smuggle advanced missile components, including a warhead, with the knowledge that these would be used by Houthi rebels against commercial and naval vessels in the Red Sea and surrounding waters. Pahlawan is also charged with providing false information to U.S. Coast Guard officers during the boarding of the vessel.

His co-defendants, Mohammad Mazhar, Ghufran Ullah, and Izhar Muhammad, are also facing charges related to providing false information during the incident.