U.S. Army Major found guilty of smuggling guns to Ghana in rice barrels

Francis Akhalbey May 02, 2024
U.S. Army Major Kojo Owusu Dartey is accused of smuggling guns to Ghana -- Photo Credit: Ghana Revenue Authority

A U.S. Army Major faces up to 240 months in prison after he was found guilty of smuggling guns to Ghana in barrels of rice and home goods. In a statement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina said a federal jury found Kojo Owusu Dartey, 42, guilty of dealing in firearms without a license, delivering firearms without notice to the carrier, and smuggling goods from the United States.

Dartey, who is currently assigned to Fort Liberty, was also found guilty of illegally exporting firearms without a license, making false statements made to an agency of the United States, making false declarations before the court, and conspiracy. 

Court records stated that Dartey bought firearms between June 28 and July 2, 2021. He is said to have purchased seven firearms in the Fort Liberty area and also made a U.S. Army Staff Sergeant at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, buy three other firearms and send them to him in North Carolina.

The firearms included multiple handguns, an AR15, 50-round magazines, suppressors, and a combat shotgun, the statement said, adding that he hid the weapons “inside blue barrels underneath rice and household goods.”

Dartey then “smuggled the barrels out of the Port of Baltimore, Maryland, on a container ship to the Port of Tema in Ghana,” the statement said. “The Ghana Revenue Authority recovered the firearms and reported the seizure to the DEA attaché in Ghana and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division.”

The statement also said that the 42-year-old at the same time “was a witness in the trial of U.S. v. Agyapong.” “A case that involved a 16-defendant marriage fraud scheme between soldiers on Fort Liberty and foreign nationals from Ghana that Dartey had tipped off officials to,” the statement continued.

“In preparation for the trial, Dartey lied to federal law enforcement about his sexual relationship with a defense witness and lied on the stand and under oath about the relationship.”

Dartey’s sentencing date is set for July 23. “We are partnering with law enforcement agencies across the globe to expose international criminals – from money launderers to rogue international arms traffickers capable of fueling violence abroad,” U.S Attorney Michael Easley said. 

“Through a partnership with Ghanaian officials, this rogue Army Major was convicted at trial after smuggling guns to Ghana in blue barrels of rice and household goods.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 2, 2024


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