Skip to main content

Minnesota man convicted of smuggling guns overseas

  • Author:
  • Updated:

A Minneapolis man was found guilty of international gun smuggling, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

Sheriff Olaleran Mohammed, 51, was convicted Monday by a federal jury on one count of smuggling goods from the United States, and 17 counts of giving false statements while purchasing a firearm.

Mohammed – a naturalized U.S. citizen living in Brooklyn Park – attempted to deliver eight handguns to Nigeria by hiding them in a vehicle that was being shipped overseas to the coastal African country, the Department of Justice says.

According to the press release:

In the fall of 2012, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discovered seven handgun purchases were made within days of each other at a gun shop in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities.

Investigators soon discovered Mohammed had made a total of 17 handgun purchases from 2009-2012, and ATF officials suspected there was a high likelihood Mohammed lied on at least some of the legally required firearms purchase forms.

Agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) then determined Mohammed was engaged in the international export business, and frequently traveled to Nigeria. That raised further questions about the high number of gun purchases.

In December 2012, HSI agents discovered that Mohammed was shipping a vehicle to Nigeria via ocean container through Valencia, Spain – and suspected at least some of the weapons were hidden inside.

HSI agents contacted Spanish law enforcement officers in Madrid who halted the shipment. There they inspected the vehicle, and discovered eight handguns hidden inside – seven of them 9 mm, and one a .22 caliber. The firearms were seized by Spanish authorities and later turned over to U.S. authorities for use in Mohammed’s criminal proceedings.

He was indicted in October of 2013, and arrested the following month in Atlanta, after returning from Nigeria. His trial began June 11 and ended five days later.

Mohammed faces up to 10 years in prison for each of the 18 counts. His sentencing date has not been scheduled.

FOX 9 has some additional details from the trial.

The station says Mohammed testified he was shipping the guns in order to protect his home in Nigeria. He also claimed to be a captain in the Nigerian Army, FOX 9 reports.

According to the station, prosecutors said there is no evidence the weapons were headed to Boko Haram – the terror group behind the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls in April.

This embed is invalid

Next Up

Hurricane Ian

Why Hurricane Ian could be catastrophic in Florida

Hurricanes are the atmosphere’s biggest show of force and energy, and Hurricane Ian is no exception.


Suspect arrested after man and dog shot on St. Paul's East Side

The shooting happened around 12:45 p.m. Tuesday.


Bemidji police appeal to find missing teenager

Tahlia Poitra was last seen Wednesday.


Crisp & Green owner launches new chain, with 12 MN locations planned

Steele Brands already owns and operates Crisp & Green and Stalk & Spade.


New vendor to open at Rosedale Center food hall

POTLUCK Food Hall offers a rotating collection of local restaurants and food retailers.


Woman charged in drunk driving incident that killed Minnetonka HS alum

Nate Stratton, 20, died from his injuries on Sept. 18.


Inver Grove Heights father killed during suspected burglary

Three people were arrested in connection to the homicide.


St. Paul's upcoming Spring Break restaurant will celebrate the 1980s

The restaurant is one of two new concepts bring brought to downtown St. Paul by local Chef Brian Ingram.

Screen Shot 2022-09-27 at 11.19.05 AM

Man found shot dead on south Minneapolis sidewalk

The victim was found dead on a sidewalk in the Bryant neighborhood.


49th suspect charged in Feeding Our Future fraud investigation

The suspect had booked a flight to Istanbul before being arrested.