U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Southern District of Florida
99 N.E. Fourth Street
Miami, Florida 33132
For Immediate Release
September 17, 2010
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney
Okeechobee Gun Dealer Indicted for Machine Gun Sales
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Hugo Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, announced yesterday’s indictment of defendant Edward Todd Basile, 47, of Okeechobee, Florida, on federal firearms law violations, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(a)(6), 922(b)(5), and 922(g)(3), and transfer of unregistered machine guns, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 5861 (e). Basile was arraigned in federal court in Fort Pierce earlier today, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch, Jr.
According to in-court statements, Basile worked for Gun Smoke Enterprises, a federally licensed firearms dealer based in Okeechobee, Florida, that sells firearms at southern Florida gun shows and over the Internet. As stated in presentations in open court, Basile met on multiple occasions with a cooperating witness who was a convicted felon, and sold the informant firearms and parts to construct M-16 fully automatic rifles.
Fully automatic weapons are defined in federal law as those firearms that will repeatedly fire more than one shot, when the trigger is pulled only once. According to the in-court statements, Basile instructed and assisted the cooperating witness in preparing false federal firearms transaction forms, using someone Basile thought was a third person, or
straw buyer, to pretend to be the actual buyer of the firearms. The person portraying the straw buyer was, in fact, an undercover ATF agent. In addition, Basile on multiple occasions delivered to the informant parts designed to convert an otherwise lawful, semi-automatic rifle, such as the AR-15, into a fully automatic machine gun, such as the military’s M-16 rifle. Federal law requires such parts to be registered, as well as the law restricts their creation, possession and transfer. Basile delivered parts that were not numbered or registered.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the federal law enforcement agency that investigated this case. In addition, he commended the assistance of both the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office and the Glades County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation of this case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore Cooperstein.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.