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Two United States Army reservists were arrested yesterday (April 15) for illegally selling military firearms to an undercover agent posing as a member of a Mexican drug cartel.

Jaime Casillas and Andrew Reyes were to be arraigned today.

According to the U.S. Attorney's complaint, in seven transactions, the pair sold thousands of rounds of ammunition, four AR 15 rifles, an AK-47 assault rifle, a .40-caliber SKS pistol, and a 7.62-caliber SKS rifle to the undercover agent. Some of the items were military-issued and some were purchased by the defendants and re-sold.

Casillas and Reyes were told several times that the weapons were destined for Mexico. Some of the serial numbers had been obliterated, suggesting they had been used in a crime or were stolen.

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Comments

danfogel April 16, 2015 @ 5:47 p.m.

They are actually members of the California National Guard, which is a separate military organization.
Casillas is a Mexican national and may have joined the military to assist in becoming a U.S. citizen. Reyes allegedly told agents that the pistol had been used "to do a job" in Tijuana. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, they were told some of the guns bought in Texas had their serial numbers removed or replaced with fake ones because they had been stolen or used in a crime. As one would expect, they both pleaded not guilty.

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Don Bauder April 16, 2015 @ 6:07 p.m.

danfogel: The news release that came in last night from the U.S. Attorney's office referred to them several times as Army reservists or Army reserve soldiers. Some other publication -- I can't remember which one -- called them members of the National Guard. There is a difference -- or, at least, there was when I was in the National Guard in the late 1950s and 1960s. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh April 17, 2015 @ 8:13 a.m.

I will quibble about the description of those firearms as military. They are certainly not US military weapons. The AR-15 is a legal, semi-automatic civilian firearm. The others are Soviet, or copies of Soviet designs. "Military-style" would be more accurate. As for the ammunition, it appears as if some or all of it was stolen from the Guard or other military sources. There's been nothing in the reports to indicate charges of theft.

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danfogel April 17, 2015 @ 8:46 a.m.

Yeah, I noticed that the 2 counts in the complaint were for sale and transportation. I guess the can always amend the complaint later to include theft. I wonder if these guys will roll on their seller.

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Don Bauder April 17, 2015 @ 10:51 a.m.

danfogel: Yes, the complaint can be amended. However, as you know, it can be dangerous to reveal information about an illegal gun transaction. Your life could be in danger after you emerge from prison. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel April 17, 2015 @ 2:30 p.m.

don bauder, Actually, I wouldn't have any personal knowledge of the dangers of revealing information about an illegal gun transaction.

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Don Bauder April 17, 2015 @ 5:42 p.m.

danfogel: I was bowing to your knowledge, not accusing you of having courted danger by revealing information about an illegal gun transaction. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel April 17, 2015 @ 6:58 p.m.

don bauder It's Friday. Just me being a wise ass.

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Don Bauder April 18, 2015 @ 6:48 a.m.

danfogel: Why should you be more of a wise ass on Friday? Wouldn't Monday be more appropriate? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder April 17, 2015 @ 10:49 a.m.

Visduh: I don't know anything about guns, and would never have caught that. I will take your word for it -- "military-style" instead of "military." Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK April 17, 2015 @ 10:27 a.m.

could be stuff they got at gun shows vests on ebay

sounds a lot like it needs more investigation to get at the truth

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Don Bauder April 17, 2015 @ 10:54 a.m.

Murphyjunk: In the sting, the sellers were told the weapons would go to Mexico. Best, Don Bauder

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swell April 17, 2015 @ 2:55 p.m.

Look, this is America and these entrepreneurs are living the spirit of Milo Minderbinder (Catch-22 book & movie) who made the best of the opportunities available to him.

But all seriousness aside, there have always been some military people who take liberties with available items. Who doesn't have an uncle who keeps a WWI rifle or Civil War pistol or Samurai sword as a souvenir? These reservists seem to have gone too far but where is the line? Should we strive for zero tolerance?

As a Vietnam war vet, I think that some who went through hell might deserve a token of their experience (other than the colorful, often silly medals that are awarded like candy to children). Something meaningful like his fallen friend's Zippo lighter or a gas mask that saved his life. I know some took guns home after the war; I don't approve but I don't criticize.

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Don Bauder April 17, 2015 @ 5:44 p.m.

swell: Yeah, but these guys got caught SELLING the military-style weaponry. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh April 18, 2015 @ 7:18 a.m.

These charges come across as a couple of not-too-smart dudes using their Guard membership to play gun runner. It had nothing to do with bringing a weapon home after serving in a combat zone. I, too, knew of those who brought weapons back from Vietnam, but those were usually captured enemy pieces (the SKS carbine was popular) that were legal to own in the US.

The Mexican national of the pair is now in really hot water. If convicted they kick him out of the guard, he loses his green card, and he does prison time. All to pick up a few bucks. Dumb, dumb.

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Don Bauder April 18, 2015 @ 10 a.m.

Visduh: Some crooks, such as those on Wall Street, are very smart. Small-time crooks can be very dumb. Unfortunately, the mainstream press mainly covers the small-timers. Their scams are not that complex.

One of the biggest problems with regulatory agencies is that they go after the penny ante crooks. It's easy work. There is no pressure from your superiors, for example. Best, Don Bauder

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