Atlanta man sentenced to prison for attempting to conceal firearms in overseas shipment of household goods

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SAVANNAH, GA:  An Atlanta man has been sentenced in federal court after admitting he attempted to hide firearms in an overseas shipment of goods.

Shawn Sabi, 53, of Atlanta, was sentenced to 19 months in prison after pleading guilty to Submitting False or Misleading Export Information, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Sabi also was ordered to serve two years of supervised release after completion of his prison sentence.

There is no parole in the federal system.

“There are very strict laws in place to restrict shipment of firearms overseas, and Shawn Sabi violated those laws,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “He is now being held accountable, and his sentence should serve as a warning that our law enforcement partners are ever vigilant in monitoring traffic through our ports.”

In March 2021, agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) flagged a shipment moving through the Port of Savannah, labeled “115 pieces used household goods and personal effects,” based on discrepancies in declarations Sabi filed for the shipment. An agent from the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) reviewed the records, leading to a search of the container in which a shotgun, a rifle, and three handguns were discovered concealed inside the legs of an aluminum shelving unit, along with ammunition and other materials.

In most cases, it is illegal to export firearms to another country without a federal export license. BIS confirmed that Sabi does not possess such a license.

“Firearms illegally exported from the United States can often lead to dire consequences overseas,” said Ariel Joshua Leinwand, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) Office of Export Enforcement, which oversees BIS investigations in the Southeast. “Disrupting those that supply illegal weapons from the United States is a top priority of BIS Special Agents, and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to prevent firearms from potentially falling into the wrong hands abroad.”

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“U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) takes great pride in fostering collaboration with our partner government agencies to diligently enforce U.S. export control laws as part of our overall duties and responsibilities in protecting and preserving our national security, while continuing to facilitate lawful trade,” said Area Port Director Henry DeBlock.

“HSI is committed to combating illegal firearms smuggling activities that fuel violence both domestically and abroad,” said Homeland Security Investigations Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Katrina Berger. “This case highlights how law enforcement partnerships work together to protect our communities and our nation.”


The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement, Miami Field Office; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Customs and Border Protection; and Homeland Security Investigations; and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer G. Solari and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Darron J. Hubbard.

If you have knowledge of fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721 or e-mail at: disaster@leo.gov

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