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Press Release

Raleigh Man Sentenced For Conspiracy To Export Defense Articles (Firearms)

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

RALEIGH – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina announced that in federal court today, Senior United States District Judge W. Earl Britt sentenced ALHAJI BOYE, 46, of Raleigh to 9 months of imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release.

BOYE pled guilty on October 31, 2016 to Conspiracy to Export Defense Articles (Firearms) from the United States from January 1, 2014 to June 21, 2016.

In 2012, with the intention of bringing political and social change to The Gambia, Gambian-American citizens and others joined a conspiracy entitled, The Gambia Freedom League.  The group hoped to take over the country, gain support from internal allies, and bring about regime change.  The primary goal was to overthrow the Gambian President Yahya Jammeh who had been in control of Gambia since his own nonviolent coup in 1994 and whose rule had been marred by accusations of years of human rights violations.

The conspiracy included directives for certain individuals to purchase firearms, others to ship them to The Gambia in 55-gallon barrels concealed among secondhand clothing, and others to travel and physically engage in the coup itself.  BOYE’S role was to purchase firearms and ammunition.

On December 30, 2014, members of the armed conspiracy attempted to violently breach the door of the State House in Gambia.  The attempt failed and many of the conspirators died as a result of the ensuing gun battle.  Following the assault, the Gambian military recovered at least 35 firearms, assault gear, vehicles, and 55-gallon barrels.

On December 31, 2014, a member of The Gambia Freedom League returned to the United States and was interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  With the information received from the interview, the FBI initiated their investigation.  The Investigation revealed bank records displaying that on August 25, 2014, $7,000 had been wired to BOYE in Raleigh.  On August 26, 2014, BOYE had purchased two AK-47 style assault rifles, as well as 7,000 rounds of ammunition, and 98 AK-47 magazines.  On September 5, 2014, BOYE also purchased four Diamondback rifles.

In early 2015, following the failed coup, FBI agents traveled to The Gambia, inventoried, and photographed the 35 firearms seized by the Gambian government.  Five of those firearms matched serial numbers on the firearms purchased by BOYE.

President Jammeh was ultimately defeated in a 2016 democratic election.  He initially conceded defeat, but then refused to recognize the results; however, on January 21, 2017, Jammeh relented to the external pressures applied by the United Nations and the African Union and he departed the country.

This criminal investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).  Assistant United States Attorney Jason Kellhofer prosecuted the case on behalf of the government.

Updated March 27, 2017

Firearms Offenses