U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized three firearms and over 200 rounds of ammunition in Norfolk, Virginia, on October 12, concealed inside a shipping container destined for Liberia.
The shipping container, originating from a Minneapolis suburb, was listed in the manifest as containing three vehicles and household goods.
CBP officers inspected the container's contents and discovered the firearms and ammo concealed within two black barrels. The cache included a Taurus GC3 9mm, a Bersa 380 ACP, and a Hatfield 12-gauge shotgun, along with four magazines, 159 rounds of 9mm ammunition, 20 rounds of .308 ammunition, and 25 rounds of 12-gauge shells.
Federal law regulates the lawful exportation of firearms, accessories, and ammunition, with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) offering guidance to exporters on export requirements.
Additionally, firearms exporters must file Electronic Export Information (EEI) via the Automated Export System (AES). No arrests have been made, as CBP officers seized the firearms and ammo, and notified special agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), who are currently conducting an investigation.
“Oftentimes, firearms being smuggled out of the United States are destined for the hands of transnational criminal organizations who use those weapons to terrorize or harm innocent victims,” said Mark Laria, CBP’s Area Port Director for the Area Port of Norfolk-Newport News. “Customs and Border Protection’s border security mission helps protect the defenseless by intercepting these illegally exported firearms.”
This is not the first time that CBP officers in Norfolk have encountered firearms being smuggled out of the United States. In July, CBP officers discovered an RF-15 semiautomatic rifle, a SIG Sauer SIGM400 rifle, a Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm shield pistol, four magazines, and 77 rounds of ammo while disposing of the contents of an abandoned export shipping container destined for Sierra Leone.
In June, CBP officers seized 35 magazines, four Kevlar helmets, four antenna communication matching units, and three vehicle taillights being shipped from Lenoir County, North Carolina, to Brno, Czech Republic.
CBP's border security mission is led at our nation’s Ports of Entry by CBP officers and agriculture specialists from the Office of Field Operations. CBP screens international travelers and cargo, searching for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, invasive weeds and pests, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality.