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Press Release

Nonimmigrant visa holder convicted of violating US gun laws

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

HOUSTON – A federal jury in Houston has convicted a 25-year-old citizen of Niger on firearms charges related to his status in the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

The jury deliberated for approximately one hour following a one-day trial before returning guilty verdicts on all four counts as charged against Moctar Ahmadou Gouroudja Ahmadou.

Even though Ahmadou was lawfully present in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa, he violated the terms of that status by illegally using a firearm and ammunition.

“Thousands of people enter this country each year and honor and appreciate the terms of their presence in the United States,” said Hamdani. “This individual disrespected that privilege not once or twice, but four times by illegally possessing and using firearms and ammunition. We cannot allow non-citizens to violate our gun laws, and we thank the jury for returning the verdicts as they did today.”

Ahmadou entered the United States on March 24, 2016, from Niger. At the time, he had a nonimmigrant F1 visa, or student visa, to study at the North American University in Stafford. Under that status, he was not permitted to possess or use firearms or ammunition. 

However, the jury heard that on or around May 17, 2021, Ahmadou participated in handling and firing a handgun at a Texas-based gun range. He purchased a course called “First Shot” which provided training on pistol shooting and range time. Immediately after completing the course, Ahmadou rented and later purchased a Glock 45. He was seen at the firing line at the gun range holding a pistol and shooting down range towards a target.  

On May 18, 2021, Ahmadou returned to the same gun range to participate in handling and firing a rifle. The course consisted of firearms safety, manipulation and shooting a rifle. He also possessed and shot a Smith & Wesson, model MP15, .223 caliber rifle and purchased and possessed four boxes of Fiocchi .223 caliber ammunition which he used with the rifle.

U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett presided over the trial and has set sentencing for June 22. At that time, Ahmadou faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.  

Ahmadou has been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.

The FBI; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Department of State - Diplomatic Security Service; Homeland Security Investigations; Customs and Border Protection; U.S. Customs and Immigration Service; and Texas Department of Fish and Wildlife conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven Schammel and Richard Bennett prosecuted the case along with Trial Attorney Michael Dittoe of the Justice Department’s Counter Terrorism Section.

Updated March 14, 2023

National Security
Firearms Offenses