Mitchellville Arms Dealer Sentenced for Unlicensed Export Of Firearms and Ammunition to Nigeria
Greenbelt, Maryland - Chief U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced Boniface Ibe, age 50, of Mitchellville, Maryland, today to five months in prison followed by 10 months of supervised release for exporting arms and controlled goods to Nigeria without a license, and for delivering a firearm to a common carrier without written notice.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations; U.S. Customs and Border Protection Baltimore Port Director Ricardo Scheller; Special Agent in Charge Theresa R. Stoop of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; and Rick Shimon of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement's Washington Field Office.
“The sentencing today reflects the commitment and success of law enforcement working collaboratively to protect our U.S. weapons and ammunition from falling in the hands of evil doers,” said William Winter, Special Agent in Charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Baltimore. “ICE HSI will continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to bring those to justice who continue to break our export and licensing laws.”
“Illegal weapons trafficking is a very serious violation of U.S. law,” said Customs and Border Protection Baltimore Port Director Ricardo Scheller. “This conviction and sentencing should be a warning to all illegal arms dealers that Customs and Border Protection officers remain committed to working with our law enforcement partners to combat the illegal exportation of weapons at our nation’s ports of entry.”
“We are proud to have worked in cooperation with our Federal partners to send the individual to jail who is responsible for trafficking hundreds of weapons to another country,” says ATF Special Agent in Charge Theresa R. Stoop. “We will continue these efforts to stem the illegal flow of weapons so that we ensure the safety of law abiding citizens both inside and outside our country.”
“This case reflects the outstanding collaborative work of multiple agencies to demonstrate the government’s resolve to vigorously enforce U.S. export laws,” said Rick Shimon, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement’s Washington Field Office. “This sentence should also serve as a serious warning to those who would defy U.S. law for monetary gain.”
According to Ibe’s guilty plea, from November 2003 to August 2010, Ibe bought 194 shotguns and a .22 caliber handgun from gun shops in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metropolitan areas. On September 11, 2010 law enforcement learned that Ibe ordered a shipping container to be dropped and loaded with boxes at F&G Auto in Capitol Heights, Maryland. After the container was picked up and on September 22, 2010, law enforcement examined the shipping container at the Port of Baltimore and found eight shotguns, a .22 caliber handgun and .22 caliber ammunition concealed in a car inside the container. Shotgun ammunition was found in another vehicle in the container.
Dock receipts indicated that an individual in Nigeria was to receive the container, as well as at least four other containers shipped to Nigeria in 2008 and 2009. The .22 caliber handgun and ammunition are designated as significant military equipment controlled under the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations, and the shotguns are controlled for export under the Commerce Control List, all of which require a license for export. Ibe never possessed the necessary licenses or authorizations to export the firearms and ammunition.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended ICE - Homeland Security Investigations; the U.S. Customs and Border Protection; ATF; and the Department of Commerce for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Christen A. Sproule, who prosecuted the case.