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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of California

For Immediate Release

Friday, April 24, 2015
Benjamin B. Wagner
, United States Attorney
Contact: Lauren Horwood

Fresno Man Admits Possessing Machine Gun Stolen From Fort Irwin

FRESNO, Calif. — Mark Anthony Carballo, 37, of Fresno, pleaded guilty today to being a felon in possession of a firearm after a fully automatic AK-74 machine gun, which had been stolen from Fort Irwin, and a short-barreled shotgun were found in his vehicle, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

On July 15, 2011, 26 fully automatic AK-74 machine guns were stolen from the Fort Irwin military base; the investigation into the theft has recovered 14 machine guns so far.

According to court documents, on June 20, 2012, the stolen machine gun and sawed-off shotgun were discovered in the trunk of a vehicle that was repossessed from Carballo. Agents searched his girlfriend’s apartment with her consent after Carballo had said that there was a gun in the apartment. Agents found a Bersa Model Thunder 380, .380-caliber pistol inside of a backpack that also had 18 rounds of .380-caliber ammunition and a round of 5.45 ammunition for an AK-74.

“Criminals who unlawfully possess machine guns will gain ATF’s full attention,“ said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Riehl.  “Due to ATF’s diligence and hard work, we are very fortunate to recover a significant amount of fire power from these criminals before they were used to threaten the safety of others.”

This case is the product of an investigation by ATF with assistance from the Clovis and Fresno police departments and the US Marshals Service. Assistant United States Attorney Kimberly A. Sanchez is prosecuting the case.

In a related case, 13 defendants have pleaded guilty to either possession of one of the stolen machines, concealing a felony, or making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer. Eleven defendants received prison sentences ranging from six months to four years. Two defendants were sentenced to terms of probation for concealment of a felony. The U.S. Army soldiers accused of conspiring to steal the weapons from Fort Irwin were convicted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Carballo is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill on May 12, 2014. Carballo faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing


San Francisco Field Division