Courts & Crime

Former Marine gets 10 years for handgun trafficking in England

GREENVILLE, N.C. — A former Marine was sentenced to 10 years in prison Tuesday for illegally trafficking dozens of handguns to the United Kingdom.

Steven Neal Greenoe, 37, a former Raleigh resident, pleaded guilty to concealing 63 pistols and taking them from North Carolina - where he grew up - to England, where he lived with his British wife.

Investigators said the guns were sold to criminal gangs in England. British authorities linked a gun Greenoe purchased to a drive-by shooting in Manchester, England, last February. About a week later, a grand jury added a 50-count federal indictment to charges initially filed in the summer of 2010.

"By seeking to circumvent both U.S. and U.K. laws to illegally export firearms, Mr. Greenoe has potentially put the safety of countless law-abiding British citizens at risk," said Brock Nicholson, Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent. ICE collaborated with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and British authorities in a joint investigation of the offenses, which were committed from February to July of 2010.

Greenoe was arrested in Raleigh after a tip from British authorities in July 2010.

A co-conspirator, Steven Caldwell of England, was convicted in November. He was told he would not be eligible for parole for 11 years, according to the Guardian, a British newspaper.

Greenoe used his concealed weapons permit to purchase multiple guns at a time in shops across North Carolina. He took them apart to ship in his checked luggage.

Greenoe, a New Orleans native, was discharged from the military after a knee injury. He claimed to have worked for NATO, to have been in the French Foreign Legion and to have served as a former bodyguard of Madonna. He also said he was a captain in the Marines, but British media reported that documents suggest his rank peaked at lance corporal, where he served in an administrative role.

Staff writer Anne Blythe contributed to this report.

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