Customs arraign ex-US marine for alleged firearms importation

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A former United States Marine, Donn Perkins, was on Thursday arraigned by the Nigerian Customs Service before the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos over the alleged unlawful importation of firearms into the country.

The American was arraigned on a four-count offence before Justice Abimbola Awogboro.

The prosecutor, Mrs Kehinde Bode-Ayeni, told the court that the defendant was sometimes arrested in February 2023 at Tin-Can Island, Apapa, Lagos State.

Bode-Ayeni listed the arms and ammunition the defendant was 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 serial No. 9335724 with four magazines, a Ruger magnum.357 revolver with serial No. 17819337, a Ruger 380 pistol with serial No. 79047837, and an XD 45 pistol with serial No. BY558431 and two magazines, a total of 1,064 rounds of 5.56mm live ammunition, 119 rounds of.357mm live ammunition, among several others.

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The prosecutor said that the defendant concealed the arms and ammunition in a 1×20-foot container No. TGHU0S010362 and illegally brought them into the country through Tin-Can Island, Apapa, Lagos.

According to the prosecutor, the offence committed contravened Sections 18 and 19 of the Firearms Act, Cap F28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (as amended), and was punishable under Section 27 (1) (a) (lil) of the same Act.

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

Following his not-guilty plea, the prosecutor asked for a trial date and also urged the court to remand him in prison custody until the determination of the charge.

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

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

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