A “rogue Army Major” was convicted of smuggling handguns, an AR-15, magazines, suppressors and a combat shotgun inside barrels of rice headed to Ghana, the Department of Justice said. The shipment made it all the way to Africa from a port in Baltimore, Maryland but was uncovered by Ghanaian officials disguised weapons and tipped off U.S. law enforcement.

A federal jury convicted Army Maj. Kojo Owusu Dartey, 42, also known as “Killa K” of dealing and illegally exporting firearms without a license, smuggling goods from the U.S, making false statements, and conspiracy, according to the DOJ. Dartey, who was assigned to Fort Liberty, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years at a sentencing hearing set for July 23.

None of the arms Dartey smuggled in the rice barrels were aken from Army armories, according to the DOJ, though an accomplice purchased three Glock pistols for the scheme at the Main Exchange on Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Dartey’s lawyer declined to comment.

The DOJ said that Dartey bought seven firearms from civilian sources around Fort Liberty in summer 2021 and directed an Army Staff Sergeant assigned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to purchase three firearms there. Staff Sgt. George Archer purchased the Glock pistols and sent them to Dartey. 

Dartey hid firearms, multiple handguns, an AR15, 50-round magazines, suppressors, and a combat shotgun inside blue barrels filled with rice and other goods. According to the federal indictment, Dartey asked a “Confidential Source” for help shipping household items from North Carolina. The source helped arrange putting the blue barrels onto a container ship headed to the Port of Tema in Ghana. 

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Ghana’s Revenue Authority interrupted the transport and reported the seizure to the U.S. DEA attaché in Ghana and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. 

At the time of the firearm dealings, Dartey was also a witness in a trial involving a marriage fraud scheme between soldiers on Fort Liberty and foreign nationals from Ghana that he tipped off officials to. According to the DOJ, Dartey lied to federal law enforcement officials and under oath in court about his sexual relationship with a defense witness.

Officials said that a jury found a Fort Liberty soldier assigned to 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade guilty in July 2021 on charges of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, aid and abet naturalization fraud, harboring an alien, visa fraud and theft of government property. 

The conspiracy involved several U.S. soldiers who attempted to enter into “sham marriages with foreign-born nationals for the purpose of evading United States immigration laws and obtaining lawful permanent residence status for otherwise inadmissible foreign-born nationals,” according to a 2019 federal indictment. 

The goal was for the foreign nationals to apply for Basic Allowance for Housing and Basic Allowance for Subsistence, benefits that the soldier “would not normally be entitled to without being married,” the indictment said.

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