Customs Arraigns Ex-US Marine for Illegal Importation of Firearms

Wale Igbintade

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday arraigned an American, Donn Perkins, before a Federal High Court in Lagos over alleged unlawful importation of firearms.

The American, who claimed to be a former United State Marine, was arraigned before Justice Abimbola Awogboro on a four-count charge.

The prosecuting counsel, Mrs. Kehinde Bode-Ayeni, told the court that the defendant was arrested sometime in February 2023 at the Tin-can Island, Apapa, Lagos.

Bode-Ayeni listed the arms and ammunition the defendant was arrested with as: one piece of 5.56mm AK-47; styled rifle (Tavor) serial No: 1452 with three magazines and one drum; one piece of AK-47 7.62mm variant serial No: 9335724 with four magazines; Ruger magnum 357 Revolver with serial No: 17819337; Ruger 380 pistol with serial No: 79047837; and XD 45 pistol with serial No: BY558431 and two magazines.

She also told the court that the American illegally brought into the country a total of 1,064 rounds of 5.56mm live ammunition; 119 rounds of 357mm live ammunition; 62 rounds of 32mm automatic ammunition; 29 rounds of 9mm live ammunition; 25 rounds of AK-47 7.62mm special live ammunition; 39 rounds of 22mm live ammunition; 47 rounds of 45mm automatic live ammunition; one round of 40mm live ammunition, and 54 rounds of 380mm Ruger live ammunition.

The prosecutor also told the court that the defendant concealed the arms and ammunition in a 1×20 feet container with No: TGHU0S010362, and illegally brought them into the country through Tin-Can Island, Apapa, Lagos.

Bode-Ayeni told the court that the offence committed by the defendant contravened Sections 18 and 19 of the Firearms Act, Cap F28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (As amended), and punishable under Section 27 (1) (a) (i) of the same Act.

The American, however, pleaded not guilty to the offences.

Following his not guilty plea, the prosecutor asked for a trial date, and also urged the court to remand the defendant till the determination of the charge.

However, defendant’s lawyer, Blessing Jaiyeola, pleaded with the court to remand her client in the complainant’s custody, till when she files his bail application.

She pleaded with the court for a short date to enable her file the bail application.

Justice Awogboro, after listening to the counsel’s submissions, ordered that the defendant be remanded at the custody of the NCS, and adjourned the matter till June 6 and 7 for commencement of the defendant’s trial.

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