RALEIGH, N.C. - Ramadan Rama, 40, a resident of Fayetteville, N.C., pled guilty in federal court Monday to firearms trafficking charges, including failure to notify a common carrier of a firearm and exporting defense articles without a license, 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).
A federal grand jury returned a criminal indictment on Dec. 14, 2010, which stated that Rama arrived in Pristina, Kosovo, on March 16, 2010, from Raleigh Durham Airport, and upon search of his checked luggage, officials found two disassembled semi-automatic pistols that had been wrapped in aluminum foil in an attempt to avoid detection.
The criminal complaint further alleged that on Sept. 22, 2010, Rama departed Raleigh Durham Airport en route to Pristina, Kosovo. During a layover in Vienna where Austrian Customs authorities performed a baggage check, the authorities located a disassembled Walther P22 .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol concealed in the lining of a leather bag packed in his checked luggage.
"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, we are committed to working with our international affairs offices overseas and our federal partners to continue pursuing individuals and organizations which seek to circumvent our export laws."
At sentencing, set for June 20, Rama faces up to five years' imprisonment for failing to notify a common carrier of a firearm and up to 20 years' imprisonment for exporting defense articles without a license.
"The illegal international transportation of a firearm is a crime that cannot be tolerated," stated ATF Special Agent in Charge Zebedee T. Graham, "We will continue to devote our manpower and resources to identifying and prosecuting those that chose to engage in this type of gun crime."
"In this country we are fortunate to have the Constitutional right to bear arms. However, it is of grave concern when one of our citizens attempts to violate laws pertaining to that right that are designed to protect the people of our country and our international friends," said U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding. "We take these offenses seriously and will prosecute them accordingly."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Toby Lathan represented the government.