Eleven men from Columbus, Ohio, were recently convicted by the US federal court of conspiring to smuggle hundreds of firearms into Canada illegally.
A federal grand jury accused the co-conspirators of the returned charges on August 19 and November 19, 2020.
In all, the defendants received prison sentences ranging from 12 months and one day to 72 months.
The defendants conspired to smuggle more than 200 weapons from Ohio to Canada from around July 2018 until around mid-2019.
A statement issued on November 5 by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, a branch of the United States Department of Justice, says at least 10 of those weapons to date have been directly traced to crimes in Canada.
Abdulwahab Sharif Mohamed Hassan, 30, received the maximum sentence of 72 months in prison.
The Justice Department says the defendants acquired firearms both legally and illegally, hoarded and then smuggled them into Canada for resale for profit.
“The group bought guns through both private sales and straw purchases at gun shows,” the Justice Department statement read.
“For example, in April 2019, co-conspirators induced two people to make straw purchases of four firearms at the C&E Gun Show at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus. Defendants recruited female drivers to smuggle guns from fire across the border or to bring money back from Canada through the promise of free travel to Canada, payment and access to drugs and alcohol. “
Law enforcement seized more than US $ 11,000 in July 2018 from two of the defendants on a return trip to Ohio from Canada.
Two months later, more than US $ 25,000 in cash was seized from two other defendants at John Glenn International Airport in Columbus, Ohio.
The Justice Department notes that Abdulwahab Hassan reported during the sentencing trial that he had about $ 88,000 in cash available, despite not having a job during the time periods relevant to the firearms trafficking conspiracy.
Conspiracy-related individuals attempted to travel to Canada on multiple occasions in 2019 and were stopped by law enforcement, with multiple firearms uncovered in vehicles during each incident.