Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

DOJ seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of North Carolina
Michael F. Easley Jr., United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Monday, April 29, 2024

Jury Finds U.S. Army Major Guilty After He Smuggled Guns to Ghana in Blue Barrels of Rice and Home Goods

WILMINGTON, N.C. – A federal jury convicted a United States Army Major, currently assigned to Fort Liberty, on charges of dealing in firearms without a license, delivering firearms without notice to the carrier, smuggling goods from the United States, illegally exporting firearms without a license, making false statements made to an agency of the United States, making false declarations before the court, and conspiracy. Kojo Owusu Dartey, age 42, faces a maximum penalty of 240 months when sentenced on July 23, 2024.

“We are partnering with law enforcement agencies across the globe to expose international criminals – from money launderers to rogue international arms traffickers capable of fueling violence abroad,” said U.S Attorney Michael Easley.  “Through a partnership with Ghanaian officials, this rogue Army Major was convicted at trial after smuggling guns to Ghana in blue barrels of rice and household goods. I want to thank the Ghana Revenue Authority and the International Cooperation Unit Office of the Attorney-General of Ghana for their assistance in the investigation. I also commend the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) attachés to U.S. Embassy Accra and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs of the Department’s Criminal Division for their significant assistance to this prosecution.”

“Far from being a victimless crime, firearms trafficking threatens public safety across our nation and beyond,” said Toni M. Crosby, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Baltimore Field Division. “The Baltimore Field Division is proud to partner with the Ghana Revenue Authority and ATF’s Charlotte and Louisville Field Divisions for this investigation, which has kept firearms off the streets — preventing them from being used in any number of killings and other crimes — and ended this international firearm trafficking scheme.”

Large blue barrel with multiple firearms lined up against the wall in the background

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, between June 28 and July 2, 2021, Dartey purchased seven firearms in the Fort Liberty area and tasked a U.S. Army Staff Sergeant at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to purchase three firearms there and send them to Dartey in North Carolina.  Dartey then hid all the firearms, including multiple handguns, an AR15, 50-round magazines, suppressors, and a combat shotgun inside blue barrels underneath rice and household goods and smuggled the barrels out of the Port of Baltimore, Maryland, on a container ship to the Port of Tema in Ghana.  The Ghana Revenue Authority recovered the firearms and reported the seizure to the DEA attaché in Ghana and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division.  At the same time, Dartey was a witness in the trial of U.S. v. Agyapong. A case that involved a 16-defendant marriage fraud scheme between soldiers on Fort Liberty and foreign nationals from Ghana that Dartey had tipped off officials to. In preparation for the trial, Dartey lied to federal law enforcement about his sexual relationship with a defense witness and lied on the stand and under oath about the relationship. 

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement after Chief U.S. District Judge Richard E. Myers II accepted the verdict. The ATF, Army Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gabriel J. Diaz prosecuted it with technical assistance from David Ryan, DOJ Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:23-cr-00165-M-RJ-1.


An official website of the U.S. Department of Justice

Looking for U.S. government information and services?