WRAL Investigates

Warrants: Smuggling suspect sought help to hide guns

Posted January 18, 2011 5:14 p.m. EST
Updated January 18, 2011 7:23 p.m. EST

— A Raleigh native suspected of smuggling firearms to England asked for help to remove firearms from two local homes before authorities could find them, according to federal search warrants obtained Tuesday by WRAL News.

Steven Neal Greenoe was arrested in July on charges that he was taking firearms overseas without an export license and that he didn't declare to airline workers that he had weapons in his checked bags.

Greenoe, who grew up in Raleigh, is a former Marine who now lives in England.

British authorities investigating illegal gun sales tipped off federal agents about a possible link to Greenoe, and authorities found ammunition and disassembled pistols in his luggage as he was about to board a flight to New York.

He is being held without bond in the Pitt County jail until his trial, which is scheduled for March.

Detention officers intercepted a letter Greenoe sent a week ago to Tom Tomasetti, his uncle in Raleigh, according to a search warrant. He wrote "Legal Mail" on the envelope in an effort to avoid detection, the warrant states.

The letter asked Tomasetti to go to Greenoe's mother's home, at 8933 Windjammer Drive in Raleigh, and to another residence owned by his family, at 2217 Brisbayne Circle in Raleigh, and remove numerous firearms and storage bins, the warrant states.

Tomasetti declined to comment Tuesday, saying only that he believes his nephew is innocent.

An inmate at the Pitt County jail told authorities that Greenoe also approached him about removing a machine gun and armor-piercing ammunition from his home, the warrant states. No such items were found during searches of the two homes last week, warrants show.

Authorities seized ammunition and boxes for three handguns from the Brisbayne Circle home. They seized three handguns, two shotguns, a rifle, cases for carrying firearms and various documents from the Windjammer Drive residence.

Jay Hemphill, who lives next door to the Brisbayne Circle house, said Tuesday that he was taken aback by the allegations against Greenoe.

"I'm interested to see what the evidence is, but from my perspective, if what's alleged is true, it's pretty disconcerting," Hemphill said.

Federal agents said he smuggled as many as 65 handguns through security at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on 10 flights last year.

Greenoe told investigators that he works as an international security consultant and was trying to outfit his employees with quality weapons for assignments in hazardous areas, such as the pirate-infested waters off eastern Africa.