National Guard members admit illegally selling guns
SAN DIEGO — Two National Guard members went before a San Diego federal judge Thursday and admitted to illegally selling guns — including military-style assault rifles — that they believed were destined for Mexico.
Jaime Casillas, 22, and Andrew Reyes, 34, both of whom worked at an Army National Guard armory in El Cajon, each pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mitchell Dembin to one count of dealing firearms without a license.
Reyes also entered guilty pleas to three counts of unlicensed transportation of firearms, admitting that he traveled to Texas on at least three occasions to buy high-powered guns that he then illegally brought back to California and sold to an undercover agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Reyes conceded to selling an AK-47 rifle in early September of 2014, two AR-15 rifles and four high-capacity .223-caliber rifles magazines three months later, and another AR-15 rifle last March.
According to his plea agreement, Casillas sold a .40-caliber pistol to the plainclothes agent in August of 2014 and an AR-15 rifle two months later, and was present when Reyes sold the AR-15 rifle last spring.
Some of the items were military issued, while some had been bought by the defendants in Texas and resold to the undercover officer, prosecutors alleged.
Posing as a member of a Mexican drug cartel, the undercover agent repeatedly told the defendants that the guns he was buying would be transported south of the border, the complaint alleges.
The defendants also were aware that some of the firearms acquired in Texas had obliterated serial numbers or were “hot,” meaning they had been used in a crime or were stolen, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego.
During one transaction, the defendants allegedly showed up in U.S. Army uniforms.
Casillas, a resident of El Cajon, and Reyes, of La Mesa, are scheduled to be sentenced April 15.