Three Philippine nationals were convicted in Los Angeles on March 4 of illegally importing military grade weapons into the United States after being caught in a sting operation.
Sergio Syjuco, 26, Cesar Ubaldo, 27, and Arjyl Revereza, 26, were convicted of conspiring to illegally import the weapons, and aiding and abetting the importation of weapons. They were charged in an indictment filed on Jan. 12, 2012.
According to evidence presented at trial, the defendants conspired to sell high-powered military and assault weapons to a buyer interested in bringing weapons into the United States to arm drug dealers in Mexican drug cartels, and Mexican Mafia gang members. In Nov. 2010, Ubaldo met with a prospective weapons buyer who was actually an undercover FBI agent, and offered to introduce the agent to suppliers of high-powered firearms. Ubaldo subsequently introduced the undercover agent to Syjuco, who supplied the weapons, and Revereza, who was a police officer in the Philippines Bureau of Customs who facilitated the transfer of the weapons through Philippines customs and eventually into the United States. The weapons supplied were a rocket propelled grenade launcher, a mortar launcher, an M203 single-shot grenade launcher, and 12 Bushmaster machine guns, as well as explosives, mortars and grenades. The defendants also illegally imported high-quality military body armor. The weapons were tracked by the FBI during their shipment and were seized by law enforcement authorities when they arrived in the United States.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 9. Each defendant faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy charges, as well as 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for actually importing the weapons. The investigation was conducted by the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service and the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation.
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