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US residents exporting arms to Nigeria have been indicted

Three residents of Maryland, USA, have been indicted over allegations of exporting arms and ammunition to Nigeria without licenses.

The trio, Wilson Nuyila Tita, 45; Eric Fru Nji, 40 and Wilson Che Fonguh, 39 were charged for violating Arms Export Control Act and the Export Reform Control Act, relating to the export of firearms and ammunition from the United States to Nigeria late Thursday.

According to the United States Department of Justice, seven defendants have been charged in related cases while six of them have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

From at least, November 2017 through July 19, 2019, according to the four-count court charges, the defendants conspired with each other and with others to export from the United States to Nigeria defense articles and items identified on the United States Munitions List (“USML”) and the Commerce Control List (“CCL”) without first obtaining export licenses.

According to the indictment, the trio allegedly contributed funds for the purchase of firearms, ammunition, reloading materials and other equipment for shipping – later hiding the items from the U.S – in heavily wrapped packages and duffle bags, and inside sealed compressor units, placing those items into a shipping container and shipped them to Nigeria and at least one other location in Africa.

The defendants further allegedly communicated about their efforts and plans using an online encrypted messaging application and code words in order to conceal their activities.

In the indictment, specifically on January 17, 2019, “38 semi-automatic firearms; over 35,000 rounds of ammunition; and 44 magazines, one Bushnell Trophy Rifle Optic and one Burris AR Rifle Scope, 28 firearms with obliterated serial numbers, including 18 rifles were exported to Nigeria.

Each of the defendants if convicted face 30 years imprisonment for conspiracy, violating the Arms Export Control Act, violating the Export Control Reform Act and for transportation of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

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