Courts & Crime

Miami men arrested for West Bank arms plot

In Miami of all places, a Palestinian national and a Cuban migrant negotiated with undercover police officers last year to buy 300 high-powered firearms, explosives and remote-control detonators — a deadly weapons cache they said was destined for the West Bank, according to federal charges made public Tuesday.

Abdalaziz Aziz Hamayel, who attended Hialeah Senior High, told a cop posing as a weapons dealer that the M-16s, AK-47s, grenades and other items "were for his people, and would be sent outside of the United States" to the Palestinian Authority, a criminal complaint states.

Hamayel, 23, was arrested at Miami International Airport on Aug. 30 after flying in from Amman, Jordan, according to authorities. His co-defendant, Yanny Aguila Urbay, 24, was arrested Monday at his Hialeah home. Aguila arrived from Cuba seven years ago. The charge: conspiring to possess stolen weaponry for export to the West Bank. Sources close to the investigation said the case is being handled as a terrorism-related matter.

In Little Havana Tuesday, Guillermo Quintana, 62, a friend of Aguila's, was flabbergasted by news of the arrest. "Crazy, crazy, this is crazy," said Quintana, who last spoke to Aguila two days ago.

The pair met through a mutual friend, and the young man occasionally crashed at Quintana's apartment for more than two years.

Aguila, a native of Caibarien in Villa Clara, told people he laid carpet for a living. He met a woman about seven months ago and moved in with her, Quintana said.

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