Man arrested in US for trying to ship guns hidden in washing machine into Ghana

Richmond Attah
Richmond Attah

A Ghanaian man living in Charlotte, North Carolina in the United States has been arrested as he bought several dozen guns and more than 3000 rounds of ammunition, hid them in a washing machine and tried to ship them into Ghana. He was arrested Thursday February 18, 2016.

Local TV station, WSOCTV citing federal authorities said, 30-year-old Richmond Attah has been charged with one count of violating the Arms Export Control Act of the US, one count of illegal firearms dealing, two counts of smuggling goods from the United States and four counts of making false statements to a firearms dealer.

The indictment documents say Attah between September 2013 and December 2015 purchased approximately 63 firearms and 3,500 rounds of ammunition from various stores, Internet vendors and at gun shows.

It noted that on September 4, 2015, Attah travelled from Charlotte to Ghana.

The indictment document further states that during his return trip, Attah hid $30,100 in his luggage falsely declaring on customs paperwork that he was bringing $350 back into the United States.

“Most recently, between November 2015 and December 2015, the Attah purchased 22 more firearms and ammunition from dealers in North Carolina,” the indictment document says.

The court papers published by the publication say Attah lied that the guns and ammunition belonged to him when he bought them online.

Sampson Attah, the suspect’s father was cited as saying he and his family are from Ghana and that Richmond has lived with him in Charlotte since 2003.

According to the publication, when asked he said his son went to Ghana to visit his girlfriend. He said the couple share a child and has another one on the way.

“He’s a good man. He’s my son and I love him. I’m just praying God should intervene,” he added.

Richmond Attah who was arrested from his workplace appeared in court Thursday February 18, 2016.

In October 2015, Ms Martha Ama Pobee, Ghana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, noted that the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) remains a major threat to stability and security worldwide, according to a GNA report.

She also pointed out that in West Africa for example, illicitly acquired conventional weapons have fueled the rise in terrorism and other forms of armed violence, transnational organized crime, corruption and drugs menace.

Ghana has a challenge with the proliferation of small arms. In 2013 the Ghana Police seized a total of 161 guns during  operations from January to June.

Out of the number, 93 were locally made single barrel shotguns, 41 locally manufactured pistols, 10 imported pistols, eight pump action guns, five AK47 assault rifles and four locally made double barrel shotguns.

On January 27, 2016 a Benin national, Dennis Dagblenu, was arrested with 12 single barrel guns at the Aflao border. He is currently standing trial.

Meanwhile, Ghana became the eleventh country in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) bloc to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The country ratified the treaty in 2015.

The ATT is a multi-lateral legally-binding treaty which is expected to create common standards for exports, imports, transit, trans-shipment and brokering referred to as transfer of small arms.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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