87ºF

5 accused of trying to trade in sanctioned Iranian oil, violating U.S. trade sanctions

FILE - This June 12, 2017 file photo shows pumpjacks operating in the western edge of California's Central Valley northwest of Bakersfield. Oil production from federally-managed lands and waters topped a record 1 billion barrels in 2019, according to the Department of Interior on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Brian Melley, File)
FILE - This June 12, 2017 file photo shows pumpjacks operating in the western edge of California's Central Valley northwest of Bakersfield. Oil production from federally-managed lands and waters topped a record 1 billion barrels in 2019, according to the Department of Interior on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Brian Melley, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DALLAS – Five men have been arrested and charged with trying to trade in Iranian oil in violation of U.S. trade sanctions.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia, Zhenyu Wang, Robert Thwaites and Nicholas James Fuchs, all of Dallas; Daniel Ray Lane of McKinney, Texas; and Nicholas Hovan of New York City are charged with conspiracy and violating U.S. economic sanctions on Iran.

The criminal complaint alleges that since last July, the five had tried to buy oil illegally from Iran to sell to a refinery in China. The complaint alleges that they planned to make two shipments of oil per month with an expected profit of $28 million per month.

U.S. Attorney William McSwain said in a statement that the sanctions violations would jeopardize U.S. security.

If convicted, each of the men could be sentenced to up to 25 years in federal prison and fined up to $1.25 million.

It was unclear from federal records where the five were being detained or if they had attorneys to speak for them. A message to a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney was not immediately returned.