For Immediate Release
Sarasota Men Charged With International Arms Trafficking
Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the return of a superseding indictment charging Romen Rafael Perez (47, Sarasota), Pedro Perez-Garcia (51, Sarasota), and Juan Miguel Martinez-Garcia (33, Sarasota) with conspiracy, making a false statement to a firearms dealer, delivery of firearms to a common carrier for shipment in foreign commerce without written notice, and smuggling goods from the United States. If convicted on all counts, each faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison.
According to the superseding indictment, during the course of the conspiracy, Perez, Perez-Garcia, and Martinez-Garcia purchased more than 80 firearms from federally licensed firearms dealers located in the Middle District of Florida. The defendants represented themselves to be the actual buyers of each firearm at the time of purchase, despite having preexisting plans to ship those firearms to the Dominican Republic. During shipment, the men hid the firearms among innocuous items, such as clothing and food, and failed to inform the common carrier that the packages contained firearms. On September 11, 2019, investigators intercepted one such package destined for Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Inside, they discovered and seized 12 Glock semi-automatic 9mm handguns and accompanying magazines, as well as speed loaders hidden within several packages of breakfast cereal.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carlton C. Gammons.