National Guardsmen Admit Gun Sales Scheme

SAN DIEGO -- Two California Army National Guardsmen on Thursday admitted selling guns to an undercover agent in the belief the weapons were headed for Mexico.

Staff Sgt. Andrew Reyes, 33, of La Mesa and Spc. Jaime Casillas, 23, of El Cajon each pleaded guilty to one count of dealing firearms without a license, while Reyes also pleaded guilty to three additional charges of unlicensed transportation of firearms.

The guardsmen were arrested in April on accusations of selling nonmilitary assault rifles and a pistol to the agent, who led them to believe the weaponry was going to be used by a drug cartel, according to prosecutors. Authorities said they were also accused of selling military equipment from the California National Guard, including gun magazines, ammunition, ballistic vests and the ceramic shields that go inside the vests.

Casillas was accused of boasting to the undercover agent that he could procure such items, and the investigation began. The transactions totaled some $15,000, authorities said.

Some of the transactions that the men admitted in San Diego court Thursday included the sale of a $1,700 AK-47, a $2,150 AR-15, a .40-caliber pistol and four high capacity .223 magazines, according to the plea agreement. Reyes admitted obtaining many of the guns in Texas and then driving them to California to sell.

During the sale of the pistol, authorities said Casillas had boasted that the gun had been used to "do a job" in Tijuana, according to the complaint.

The latest item under negotiation was a .50-caliber rifle for $15,000, the type of weapon that might come from the National Guard, prosecutors said. Agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives decided to end the operation and arrest the pair before the sale happened.

Reyes had previously served in the Marines before enlisting in the Guard in 2008. Casillas joined in 2011, according to a military spokesman.

They are set to be sentenced April 15.

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Army National Guard Crime