Brothers with alleged Hezbollah ties plead not guilty

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Two brothers accused of conspiring to export drone technology to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia in Lebanon have pleaded not guilty.

Usama and Issam Hamade are charged with conspiracy to violate U.S. export laws. Usama Hamade is also charged with smuggling. The brothers were arrested in February 2018 in South Africa and were recently extradited to the U.S.

The men entered not guilty pleas Tuesday in federal court in Minnesota. U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Cowan Wright ruled that Issam Hamade would remain in custody. A detention hearing for Usama Hamade was continued to Nov. 8.

Prosecutors say the men arranged for the shipment of drone parts to Hezbollah, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization. An attorney for Issam Hamade says there’s little evidence that shipments were intended for Hezbollah.

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