Jeff Smith 6 p.m., Feb. 27
Navy SEAL Sentenced for Weapon Thefts
San Diegan and former Navy SEAL Nicholas Bickle was sentenced this week to 17 ½ years in federal prison for leading a scheme to sell military equipment including machine guns and explosives to a private buyer in Las Vegas, the Marine Corps Times reports.
Bickle surrendered in December after receiving an “other than honorable” discharge, which cost him his retirement benefits, health care, and military awards. He had served for eight years and completed two Iraq deployments.
“Mr. Bickle was really along for the ride and not a mastermind,” said his lawyer, John Arrascada, when asking the judge for leniency. Arrascada said his client had been suffering from mental health issues including post traumatic stress, and had been caught up in a plot instigated by two friends and a Las Vegas arms dealer, all co-defendants who testified against him in exchange for reduced sentences.
“This crime in the court’s view is very, very serious,” Judge Roger Hunt said before delivering a sentence close to the 20 year maximum that Bickle faced. Hunt noted the “veritable armory” of over 40 weapons Bickle had obtained that were entered into evidence during the trial.
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