FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami/AP) — A man from West Africa has pleaded not guilty in a Fort Lauderdale 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.

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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.

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Campbell was arrested at a New York airport with uranium samples in his luggage.

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