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November 30, 2012Los Angeles, CA, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ICE deports Ivory Coast army colonel convicted of arms trafficking

ICE deports Ivory Coast army colonel convicted of arms trafficking

LOS ANGELES – The Ivory Coast army colonel convicted in the Bay Area last year of arms trafficking has been deported to his native country by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Nguessan Yao, 57, was removed to the Ivory Coast by commercial aircraft Thursday accompanied by Los Angeles-based officers from ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). Upon his arrival Saturday at Port Bouet, Abidjan, Yao was turned over to local law enforcement authorities.

Yao pleaded guilty in October 2011 to charges stemming from an undercover probe by ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The probe revealed Yao conspired to violate the Arms Export Control Act by seeking to export weapons to the Ivory Coast, a breach of the United National Security Council Resolution 1572. According to court documents, Yao was among several individuals working to broker the export of 4,000 handguns, 200,000 rounds of ammunition and 50,000 tear gas grenades from the U.S. to the Ivory Coast.

In August, after serving his federal prison sentence, Yao was turned over to ICE and placed in removal proceedings. On Sept. 25, an immigration judge ordered Yao deported, paving the way for his repatriation.

"This individual's conviction and resulting deportation underscore ICE's commitment to promoting public safety and national security," said Clark Settles, special agent in charge for HSI San Francisco. "We hope this case will serve as a stern reminder about the consequences awaiting those who show such willful disregard for both."

Updated: 09/22/2014