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Contraband
02/03/2011

North Carolina man charged with 50 counts of international gun trafficking

RALEIGH, N.C. - A federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment Wednesday charging, Steven Neal Greenoe, 37, a U.S. citizen from Raleigh, with the illegal export of firearms from the United States to the United Kingdom, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Greenoe was charged with conspiring to export firearms illegally from the United States, dealing in firearms without a license, nine counts of interstate and foreign travel to deal in firearms without a license, failing to notify common carrier of firearms shipment, exporting firearms from the United States without a license, smuggling firearms outside the United States, and 12 counts of falsifying ATF Form 4473.

"The illegal export of weapons is a serious violation," said Brock Nicholson, acting special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Atlanta. "As demonstrated in this case, ICE and its federal partners will continue pursuing individuals and organizations which seek to circumvent our export laws."

According to the superseding indictment, Greenoe, and at least two other individuals he recruited, either personally or on his behalf, obtained pistol purchase permits, completed the ATF Form 4473 firearms transaction record required to purchase firearms, and purchased firearms. After purchasing the firearms, Greenoe took the firearms apart and disguised the firearms as machining engineering samples and inert firearms and concealed them in his checked luggage.

As alleged in the indictment, on nine occasions, from Feb. 22, 2010, to July 25, 2010, Greenoe concealed a total of 63 pistols in his checked luggage and traveled from Raleigh to the United Kingdom.

"ATF will not condone illegal firearms trafficking in any manner, whether domestic or international," said ATF special agent in charge Zebedee T. Graham, "We will use all of our resources to aggressively work with our domestic and international law enforcement partners to identify and put a stop to those that commit violations of the federal firearms laws."

The indictment also alleged that Greenoe did not provide written notice to the airline that firearms were being transported nor did he first obtain a license or written authorization from the Department of State for the export as required by federal laws.

It further alleges that Greenoe made false statements to a federally licensed dealer, where on the ATF Form 4473, in connection with the acquisition of the firearms, he claimed that the firearms were for his own use.

"The magnitude of this case touches not only U.S. citizens but our great British allies. Our federal firearms laws were put into place to protect our citizens; however, our obligation as good neighbors is just as important to ensure that others are not harmed by individuals who break our firearms laws," said U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding. "We remain committed to the vigorous prosecution of firearms cases and will continue to work with our international neighbors to bring those who break the law to justice."

For each count of conspiring to illegally export firearms, dealing in firearms without a license, and failure to notify the common carrier of the firearms shipment, Greenoe faces up to five years' imprisonment followed by up to three years' supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. For each charge of interstate and foreign travel to deal in firearms without a license, exporting firearms without a license, smuggling firearms, and falsifying ATF form, Greenoe faces up to 10 years' imprisonment followed by up to three years' supervised release.

This case was part of the Department of Justice's Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative which encourages federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified "team effort" against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders who continually plague their communities.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Jackson represented the government.