FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A West African man has pleaded not guilty in a Florida courtroom to U.S. charges of trying to broker an illegal deal to ship tons of uranium ore from Sierra Leone to Iran.
Patrick Campbell entered the plea at a brief hearing Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale. The 33-year-old Campbell was indicted on a charge of attempting illegal exports to Iran. The charge carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence and up to $1 million fine.
Authorities say Campbell was negotiating a deal with a Florida-based undercover U.S. agent posing as a uranium buyer. The deal allegedly was for enough uranium ore to yield 1,000 tons of purified uranium that could be used for nuclear fuel or weapons.
Campbell was arrested at a New York airport with uranium samples in his luggage.