Department of Justice
For Immediate Release
Two Army-Reserve Soldiers Charged With Trafficking Firearms to an Undercover Agent Posing as A Member of A Mexican Cartel
SAN DIEGO, CA – Two U.S. Army reservists were arrested and charged today with illegally selling firearms - including military-issued assault rifles, ammunition and protective body armor - to an undercover agent posing as a member of a Mexican drug cartel.
Jaime Casillas was arrested during a traffic stop this morning in El Cajon, and Andrew Reyes was taken into custody at his La Mesa home. Both worked in the Army National Guard Armory in La Mesa. They are scheduled to be arraigned in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mitchell Dembin at 2 p.m. Thursday. According to a complaint, in seven different transactions the defendants sold thousands of rounds of ammunition plus four AR15 rifles, an AK-47 assault rifle, a .40-caliber pistol and a 7.62-caliber SKS rifle to an undercover agent. The complaint alleges that some of the items were military-issued, while some were purchased by the defendants in Texas and re-sold to the undercover agent.
The undercover agent made clear to the defendants on multiple occasions that the purchased guns were destined for Mexico; the defendants also noted that some of the guns acquired in Texas had obliterated serial numbers or were “hot,” meaning they’d been used in a crime or were stolen.
During one transaction, the defendants showed up in U.S. Army uniforms and collected $2,150 from the undercover agent in exchange for an AR15 rifle.
Reyes indicated to the undercover agent while selling body armor that the so-called SAPI plates and ammunition magazines were from U.S. military inventory. SAPI plates are ceramic trauma plates placed inside of ballistic vests that provide the user protection from high velocity ammunition. SAPIs are primarily utilized by law enforcement and combat military personnel.
In all, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives seized 10 firearms during the eight-month investigation.
Assistance was provided by DEA, U.S. Border Patrol and the San Diego Sheriff’s Department.
DEFENDANTS Case Number: 15mj1179
- Jaime Casillas Age: 22 El Cajon, CA
- Andrew Reyes Age: 34 La Mesa, CA
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
- Dealing Firearms without a License, in violation of United States Code 922(a)(1)(A) (Both defendants)
- Maximum Penalty: Five years in prison
- Unlicensed Transportation of Firearms, in violation of United States Code 922(a)(3) (Reyes only)
- Maximum Penalties: Five years in prison
Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives
*A complaint is not evidence that the defendants committed the crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the Government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.