Efraim Diveroli, the irrepressible 24-year-old arms trafficker and Miami Beach felon, was arrested Friday for attempting to sell large quantities of ammunition to undercover federal agents in central Florida. He's been detained without bond in Orange County and charged with "possession of firearms as a convicted felon" and "possession of firearms while under indictment for a felony offense," as the New York Times reported yesterday.
A federal affidavit first noted by the Orlando Sentinel details how Diveroli attempted to cut arms deals with the men who, unbeknownst to him, were federal agents executing a sting, prompted by a tip from an unidentified informant.
According to the affidavit, Diveroli referred to himself as a convicted felon. He went alligator hunting in the Everglades with firearms, and asked undercover agents to go shopping with him for ammo at Wal-Mart. He also allegedly sought their cooperation in importing ammo from South Korea and offered to sell them rifle cartridges. The affidavit charges that his activities were illegal because felons are prohibited from handling firearms and because Diveroli lacked a federal license needed for brokering arms deals.
As Diveroli once allegedly told undercover agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives: "Once a gun-runner, always a gun-runner."
Diveroli first ran afoul of the Feds two years ago, when the Times revealed that he'd been selling ammo from decaying Albanian arms stockpiles to the U.S. Army as part of a $300 million defense contract. Diveroli concealed the origin of some of the ammo - which had been manufactured in Mao Tse-Tung's factories decades earlier - in order to circumvent a Pentagon embargo against Chinese-made arms.
An Albanian whistleblower, Kosta Trebicka, who later turned up dead, recorded phone chats with Diveroli, in which the young arms merchant complained of having to do business with a wild "mafia" in Albania that went up to the country's "prime minister and his son."
Diveroli was hit with multiple counts of fraud and conspiracy in June 2008, stemming from his Albanian dealings.
As the Miami New Times reported last year, however, Diveroli continued selling huge pallets of ammunition through a new company called Ammoworks on Lincoln Road, and finished two federal defense contracts worth $10 million - all while under investigation and indictment.
In August 2009, he pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy, and then plunged deeper into the arms trade.
According to the recent federal affidavit, Diveroli did business under the names of four companies, including AmmoWorks.
The affidavit identifies two other companies: Advanced Munitions Distribution, Inc. and the Pinnacle Minerals Corporation. A man named Dejan Djuric is listed as the head of both. (Florida state records show that he also incorporated a company called Balkan Export LLC.)
Djuric is not accused of wrongdoing in the affidavit, which states that he accompanied Diveroli to meetings with the undercover agents.
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But last year, a man with the same name - Dejan Djuric - was mentioned side-by-side with Diveroli in an Albanian-language news article about a legal inquiry into an explosion at one of the country's many rotting arms depots. But without a clear translation, the significance of the connection, if any, is hard to discern.
A public information officer for the ATF in Tampa, Scott Boshek, tells New Times that Djuric was an "associate of Diveroli's" and wasn't working with law enforcement during the sting.
The Feds' probe is deepening. The New York Times reports that investigators are looking into a "more extensive criminal enterprise." Will the trail lead back to the Balkans, whence Diveroli's troubles first sprang?