Nigerien Citizen Sentenced to 78 Months in U.S. Federal Prison for Firearms Violations on Student Visa

Nigerien Citizen Sentenced to 78 Months in U.S. Federal Prison for Firearms Violations on Student Visa

In a recent development, a 26-year-old citizen of Niger, Moctar Ahmadou Gouroudja Ahmadou, has been sentenced to 78 months in federal prison on firearms charges in the United States. The verdict was delivered by a jury after a one-day trial, with deliberations lasting approximately one hour.

U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani announced the sentencing and highlighted that Ahmadou, who entered the U.S. in 2016 under a nonimmigrant F1 student visa, violated the terms of his status by unlawfully using a firearm and ammunition. The court heard evidence about Ahmadou’s interactions with an individual linked to an attack on Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, as well as his downloading of jihad videos and discussions about potentially traveling to Palestine for jihad.

Despite being lawfully present in the U.S. under a student visa, Ahmadou participated in firearm activities prohibited by his visa status. The jury learned that on May 17, 2021, he handled and fired a handgun at a Texas-based gun range, followed by returning on May 18, 2021, to handle and fire a rifle, including purchasing and possessing ammunition for the rifle.

U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett not only sentenced Ahmadou to federal prison but also ordered that he lose his status in the country, facing removal proceedings upon completing his prison term. The court emphasized that Ahmadou had violated the privilege granted by his student visa.

Ahmadou, who came to the U.S. seeking education, was apprehended for his actions at the gun range, transforming from a student into a criminal in the eyes of the law.

The FBI led the investigation, with support from various agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Department of State – Diplomatic Security Service, Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Customs and Immigration Service, and Texas Department of Fish and Wildlife. Ahmadou will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.