The United States government has charged three men with attempted illegal importation of arms and ammunition to Nigeria.
The defendants, who are all residents of Maryland in the U.S., are: Wilson Nuyila Tita, age 45, of Owings Mills, Maryland; Eric Fru Nji, age 40, of Fort Washington, Maryland; and Wilson Che Fonguh, age 39, of Bowie, Maryland.
Announcing the fresh indictment on Friday, the United States Attorney’s Office in the District of Maryland said the defendants conspired with each other and with others to export from the U.S. to Nigeria “defence articles and items identified on the United States Munitions List (USML) and the Commerce Control List (CCL) without first obtaining export licences.”
They allegedly made these moves from at least November 2017 through July 19, 2019.
“The defendants also allegedly conspired to keep the United States from learning that those items were being shipped from Maryland’s Port of Baltimore to Nigeria and at least one other African country.
“The defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly supplied monies for the purchase of weapons, ammo, reloading supplies, and other equipment for shipping overseas,” according to a statement released after a federal grand jury approved the charges earlier on Thursday.
In order to disguise their operations, the defendants and their co-conspirators used an online encrypted messaging service and code words to communicate about their efforts and intentions to send weapons and ammunition, according to the indictment.
The defendants and other conspirators concealed firearms, ammunition, rifle scopes, and other items in heavily wrapped packages and duffle bags, as well as inside sealed compressor units, and placed them in a shipping container destined for Nigeria without obtaining the necessary licenses from the US Department of State and the US Department of Commerce,” according to the indictment.