Michael Lee

Published:November 10, 2021


Eleven men from Columbus, Ohio, were recently sentenced in U.S. federal court for conspiring to smuggle hundreds of firearms into Canada.

A federal grand jury charged the co-conspirators in indictments returned on Aug. 19 and Nov. 19, 2020.

In all, the defendants received prison terms ranging from 12 months and one day to 72 months.

The defendants conspired to smuggle more than 200 guns from Ohio to Canada from approximately July 2018 through to about the middle of 2019.

A statement released Nov. 5 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice, says to date, at least 10 of those guns have been directly traced to crimes in Canada.

Abdulwahab Sharif Mohamed Hassan, 30, received the highest sentence of 72 months in prison.

The Department of Justice says the defendants acquired firearms both legally and illegally, stockpiled and then smuggled them into Canada to resell them for a profit.

“The group bought guns both through private sales and through straw purchases at gun shows,” the Justice Department statement reads.

“For example, in April 2019, co-conspirators caused two individuals to conduct straw purchases of four firearms at the C&E Gun Show at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus. Defendants recruited female drivers to smuggle firearms across the border or to bring money back from Canada through promises of a free trip to Canada, payment, and access to drugs and alcohol.”

Law enforcement seized more than US$11,000 in July 2018 from two of the defendants on one trip back to Ohio from Canada.

Two months later, more than US$25,000 in cash was seized from two other defendants at the John Glenn International Airport in Columbus, Ohio.

The Justice Department notes that Abdulwahab Hassan reported during the sentencing process that he had approximately US$88,000 in cash on hand, despite not having a job during the time periods relevant to the firearms-trafficking conspiracy.

Individuals related to the conspiracy attempted to travel to Canada on various occasions in 2019 and were stopped by law enforcement, with multiple firearms discovered in vehicles during each incident.

c. CTV