Fresno artist-turned-arms dealer Dolarian pleads guilty to illegal arms deal

Fresno native Ara Dolarian, Jr., an artist-turned-arms dealer, pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to violate the Federal Arms Export Control Act.

The news was first reported by McClatchy.

Federal officers arrested and prosecutors charged Dolarian in mid-May with conspiracy, illegally brokering a sale of military arms and munitions, and money laundering.

Dolarian, once a local artist, opened an arms dealing firm licensed by the U.S. State and Justice departments called “Dolarian Capital” based in Fresno, Washington, D.C., and Sophia, Bulgaria.

The transaction that led to Dolarian’s guilty plea on Friday involved the sale of $8.5 million worth of arms to Nigeria in 2014 without receiving approval for the deal from the State Department.

According to the McClatchy report, the 58-year-old faces a potential five year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy charge.

Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.