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Oct 8, 2013 6:54 PM by Nathan O'Neal

Former UA athlete charged with shipping weapons via UPS to Nigeria

TUCSON - Federal agents arrested a local man after they were tipped off that he was trying to illegally ship five 9mm pistols overseas to Nigeria via UPS.

Chima Ugwu was in federal court Monday afternoon for his initial appearance. A former college athlete at the University of Arizona and Olympian, Ugwu is currently a corrections officer at the state prison located at Wilmot.

ATF agents raided Ugwu's home with the assistance of the Tucson Police Department last Friday. Neighbors who live nearby told News 4 Tucson that law enforcement presence continued for hours and they watched as agents took items out of the home. This all happend after UPS notified the ATF of something suspicious.

"As a result of UPS locating five firearms secreted in two VCRs in a package destined for Nigeria, ATF agents showed up to the UPS facility, took custody of the firearms and began their investigation," said Carlos Canino, Assistant Special Agent in charge of the ATF Phoenix Field Division.

While individuals are allowed to ship firearms via UPS and other carriers, there is a certain protocol that has to be followed.

UPS sent News 4 Tucson this statement that reads:

"UPS puts responsibility for the shippers of regulated goods to follow the requirements, and we have checks and balances in our systems and processes to see that they're doing so."

Even so, the practice of using carriers like UPS to illegally ship firearms isn't uncommon.

"This is the first time I'm aware of since I've been here, but nationwide, it's very frequent," Canino said.

Ugwu was released to pre-trial services and while he expects to return to work, he will be limited to only carrying a firearm while on duty.

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