Ex-US soldier is fined for trying take a gun on a plane

Retired U.S. Army soldier was given a $400 fine and a suspended prison sentence for trying to bring a gun and ammunition aboard a Zimbabwean plane.

Ex-US soldier is fined for trying take a gun on a plane

Retired Sergeant. Maj. Ronald Leon Johnson was held in Chikurubi Prison for over a week following his arrest Feb. 15, at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe Airport, Harare.

Prosecutors said that he was on his way to Victoria Falls to check in for a flight when security officers discovered a Glock 9mm pistol and three magazines containing 15 rounds of ammunition inside his luggage.

Johnson pleaded guilty in exchange for a 10-year sentence. He was charged with trying to transport a gun and ammunition onto an airplane without authorization.

Instead, the judge imposed the fine and suspended 36-months jail term and criticised prosecutors for "overemphasizing Johnson's military background to portray him as a terrorist potential.

Johnson was also told by the judge that he should be allowed to return home. In court documents, Johnson's home address was listed in Woodbridge, Virginia. Judge ruled that the gun and ammunition would be forfeited.

According to prosecutors, Johnson retired from the Army after serving 20 years.

Since Feb. 5, he had been in South Africa on a 30-day visa and had visited tourist spots and the rural home his Zimbabwean girlfriend.