FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MONDAY - December 8, 2008
UK CITIZENS PLEAD GUILTY
NEW BERN - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court today Chief United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan took guilty pleas and sentenced two citizens of the United Kingdom for making a false statement on their entry to the United States. GARRY LATCHAM and GEORGE HOPE, both from County Durham, England, arrived in the United States at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport on November 13, 2008, via a direct flight from Heathrow Airport, London. After LATCHAM and HOPE had completed their customs declaration forms, noting they had nothing of value to be left in the United States (such as a gift for someone here in the United States), their bags were inspected. Two SAK silencers were uncovered. The silencers are considered “firearms” under federal law and cannot be possessed here without proper registration. LATCHAM and HOPE each stated the silencers were to be given as gifts to the American they came to visit.
Their plea was to a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001, which carried a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment, 3 years supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. Pursuant to the agreement reached between the parties, a sentence recommendation of time served with immediate deportation was made to Judge Flanagan. Judge Flanagan sentenced each defendant to time served, and each defendant was to be transported to the Raleigh-Durham Airport and placed on an evening flight back to the United Kingdom. (It should be noted that the defendants have remained in custody since shortly after their arrival in the United States. During their time in the United States they have either been in the custody of the United States Marshals Service or the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.)
Mr. Holding commented, “This prosecution highlights the importance of the Custom’s Declaration Form individuals must fill out when they enter the United States and of the laws and rules governing travel between countries. Whatever their status in the United Kingdom, firearms silencers are highly regulated in the United States in order to deal with violent crime and terrorism. Thus, that form, as well as security measures dealing with firearms (to include silencers) are designed to address these important issues. These gentlemen, by agreement with my office, have avoided the possibility of a lengthy prosecution and potentially longer sentence. Nevertheless, no one visiting the United States should fail to abide by and should respect the rules I have talked about above.”
Investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.