Del. man sentenced for trying to sell weapons to Iran
WILMINGTON, Del. - September 12, 2011 The defense painted 36-year-old Mark Knapp as an unemployed man who turned desperate after running out of money. However the US Attorney's Office says he is nothing short of an international arms dealer who tried selling sensitive defense technology, including an F-5 fighter jet, to the Iranian Military. "It's just surprising to me that anybody would do anything that would give comfort to any enemy of this country," said US Attorney Charles Oberly. In 2010, Knapp was arrested in Delaware after an eight month sting operation organized by the US Homeland Security Department. Knapp was hoping to bring in millions of dollars by selling the F-5 fighter plane, an ejection seat, anti-gravity suit along with several other high-tech defense items. Knapp thought he was brokering the deal with a black market arms dealer, but it was actually an undercover Homeland Security agent. Defense Attorney Christopher Koyste says his client is not the monster described by prosecutors, as a man who purposely set out to compromise American security. Koyste says that Knapp is a person who was down-and-out and made a bad decision. "He never intended to do anything that would hurt the United States. I know he regrets it. We're just glad that it's over with at this stage," said Koyste. Knapp had already pleaded guilty to the charges he faced, including violation of the Iranian Arms Embargo. On Monday, he was sentenced to nearly five years in prison. His attorney says they have not decided if they will file an appeal.