For Immediate Release
Two National Guard Soldiers Plead Guilty to Trafficking Firearms to an Undercover Agent Posing as a Member of a Mexican Drug Cartel
SAN DIEGO, CA Two National Guard soldiers pleaded guilty to firearms charges in federal court today, admitting that they illegally sold numerous guns - including military-style assault rifles and ammunition believing that they were destined for Mexico.
Andrew Reyes and Jaime Casillas, who worked in the Army National Guard Armory in El Cajon, both, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mitchell Dembin to one count of dealing firearms without a license. Reyes also pleaded guilty to three counts of unlicensed transportation of firearms, admitting that he travelled to Texas on at least three occasions to purchase assault weapons which he then illegally transported to California and sold to an undercover agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on April 15, 2016 at 9 a.m. before U.S. District Judge M. James Lorenz.
According to his plea agreement, Reyes sold an AK-47 rifle on Sept 2, 2014; two AR-15 rifles and four high-capacity .223-caliber rifles magazines on December 3, 2014; and another AR-15 rifle on March 16, 2015 - all to the undercover ATF agent. In all cases, Reyes admitted that he believed the guns were destined for Mexico.
According to his plea agreement, Casillas sold a .40-caliber pistol to the undercover agent on August 14, 2014;an AR-15 rifle on October 17, 2014; and was present when Reyes sold the AR-15 rifle on March 16, 2015.
Casillas also admitted that he believed the weapons were also destined for Mexico.
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.
According to the complaint, 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. The undercover agent told the defendants he was a member of a Mexican drug cartel, according to the complaint.
During one transaction, the defendants showed up in U.S. Army uniforms.
“These National Guard soldiers have admitted to selling assault rifles and other firearms to a man they believed to be a Mexican cartel member,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “Sadly, our nation has been frequently reminded that assault weapons possessed by the wrong people are a huge threat to public safety. This prosecution and conviction highlights the commitment of ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to seek out, and then eliminate, the source of illegal firearms, wherever we find it in our community.” “Casillas and Reye' conduct surpassed mere exploitation of military resources, and advanced to providing armaments usually reserved for law enforcement and combat personnel to individuals they believed were members of organized crime operating in the United States and Mexico,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Eric D. Harden. “U.S. Service personnel make up a large percentage of the San Diego community. The community as a whole has an interest in combating conduct that stains the public trust.”
|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