WRAL Investigates

Raleigh native pleads guilty to illegal export of guns

Posted March 2, 2011 8:33 a.m. EST
Updated March 2, 2011 5:49 p.m. EST

— A Raleigh native pleaded guilty Wednesday to smuggling dozens of guns from the U.S. to England.

In exchange for federal prosecutors dropping 48 other weapons charges against him, Steven Neal Greenoe, 37, pleaded guilty to one count each of transporting guns outside the U.S. without an export license and falsifying a federal form.

He is expected to be sentenced in June, when he faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrested Greenoe in July at Raleigh-Durham International Airport after finding ammunition and disassembled pistols in his luggage as he was about to board a flight to New York.

Federal agents said Greenoe, a former Marine who lives in England, smuggled more than 60 handguns through security at RDU on nine other flights last year.

Greenoe told investigators that he worked 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.

Authorities recently seized weapons, ammunition and boxes for handguns from two Raleigh homes owned by Greenoe's mother.

The Times of London newspaper has reported that one gun linked to Greenoe was used in a drive-by shooting last fall in Manchester, England, and that members of British street gangs were selling other weapons.

The newspaper also reported that two men were arrested in England on gun trafficking charges in the case, and that British authorities were trying to track dozens of guns that Greenoe is alleged to have brought into the country.

“I will not tolerate the violation of our gun laws and the victimization of the British people,” U.S. Attorney George Holding said in a statement.

“Stopping the illegal export of weapons is important to the United States and to the countries those weapons are destined for,” Brock Nicholson, acting special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Atlanta, said in a statement. “By stopping them here, we may be preventing crimes from occurring there.”