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Customs arraigns ex-US Marine for illegal importation of firearms

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

Perkins, who claimed to be an ex-United States Marine, was arraigned on a four-count charge before Justice Abimbola Awogboro.

The court heard that he allegedly concealed the weapons in a 1x20ft container.

Prosecution counsel, Mrs. Kehinde Bode-Ayeni said Perkins was arrested sometime in February 2023 at the Tincan Island Port, Lagos.

Bode-Ayeni listed the arms and ammunition the defendant was allegedly arrested with as one piece of 5.56mm AK47 styled rifle (Tavor) serial No. 1452 with three magazines and one drum, one piece of Ak47 7.62mm variant with 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 alleged that Perkins illegally brought into the country a total of 1,064 rounds of 5.56mm live ammunition, 119 rounds of .357mm live ammunition, and 62 rounds of.32mm automatic ammunition, 29 rounds of 9mm live ammunition, 25 rounds of AK47 7.62mm special live ammunition, 39 rounds of 22mm live ammunition, 47 rounds of 45mm automatic live ammunition, 1 round of .40mm live ammunition and 54 rounds of .380mm Ruger live ammunition.

The prosecutor told the court that the defendant concealed the arms and ammunition in a 1x20ft container with serial No: TGHU0S010362.

The court heard that the offence contravened sections 18 and 19 of the Firearms Act, 2004 (As amended), and was punishable under section 27 (1) (a) (lil) of the same Act.

Perkins pleaded not guilty.

Defence counsel Blessing Jaiyeola prayed the court to remand Perkins in the complainant’s custody, pending when she would file his bail application.

Jaiyeola confirmed to the judge that Perkins was an ex-US Marine, who intended to live in Nigeria with the firearms, adding that the defendant had no idea that was unlawful.

She prayed the court for a short date to enable her to file his bail application.

After listening to the counsel’s submissions, Justice Awogboro ordered that Perkins be remanded in the custody of Customs and his case adjourned till June 6 and 7 for commencement of trial.

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