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Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyer > Blog > Federal Crime > How “Failure to Notify a Common Carrier” Can Lead to 8 Years in Federal Prison

How “Failure to Notify a Common Carrier” Can Lead to 8 Years in Federal Prison


There are some items you cannot legally ship through the mail or other common carrier. For example, federal law forbids anyone except for a licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer to ship firearms internationally. In other words, if you mail a handgun from the United States to a foreign country–and you do not have a license to do so–you are committing a federal crime.

Iraqi National Convicted of Attempted Gun Smuggling

Similarly, you can also be charged with “failure to notify a common carrier” if you try to ship a firearm without filing a written declaration that is what you are doing. The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has federal appellate jurisdiction over Florida, recently upheld the conviction and prison sentence of a man convicted of such a failure as part of a larger prosecution for illegal firearms smuggling. This particular case, United States v. Al Jaberi, arose in Georgia, which is also part of the 11th Circuit.

According to evidence introduced by the federal government at trial, the defendant, an Iraqi national living in Georgia, contracted with a private company to send a shipping container to Iraq. The defendant told the common carrier the shipment contained auto parts. In fact, the government alleged, the defendant actually placed nine firearms in the container.

The common carrier prepared the container for shipment under the assumption it contained auto parts. But when U.S. Customs and Border Protection conducted an inspection at the Port of Savannah, agents discovered the firearms. Department of Commerce agents then executed a search warrant of the defendant’s home, which uncovered evidence suggesting the defendant had intentionally packaged the firearms for the shipment.

A federal grand jury subsequently indicted the defendant for attempted smuggling, failure to notify a common carrier, and submitting false or misleading expert information. The defendant denied all charges. A jury found the defendant guilty, however, and a federal judge imposed a prison term of 94 months (8 years).

On appeal, the defendant challenged the sufficiency of the evidence against him. The 11th Circuit rejected that argument, as well as several others, and upheld the defendant’s conviction. With respect to the evidence, the Court of Appeals said that the jury could infer from the fact the defendant “hid firearms within his cargo without disclosing their existence was strong circumstantial evidence of his criminal intent.” Essentially, the jury was allowed to infer the defendant had something to hide.

Contact the Joshi Law Firm Today

You might think making a mistake on a government form is no big deal. But in the wrong context it can lead to serious federal charges. If you find yourself under investigation or indictment, our Orlando federal criminal defense attorney can help you assert your rights. Call the Joshi Law Firm, PA, at 844-GO-JOSHI today or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team.



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