By: Danielle Hatch
Peter Sotis, of Delray Beach, Florida was arrested in late October 2019 after being charged with conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), as well as smuggling goods.
Sotis is the owner of Add Helium, a diving company where he worked with an employee to transfer four rebreathers to Libya. Rebreathers are considered dual-use and are used by scuba divers to absorb the carbon dioxide that they exhale which allows them to recycle each of their breaths. Rebreathers often conceal divers to those on the surface because the technology produces no bubbles which also allows the diver to stay underwater longer than if he or she was using standard diving equipment. Rebreathers are controlled under the EAR for national security reasons.
Court documents indicate that Sotis was informed by a Commerce agent that the rebreathers could not be exported while a license determination was still pending but he continued to send them to the shipping company who was supposed to export them to Libya.
All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law; Sotis is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges in the middle of November 2019.