Two active members of the U.S. Army National Guard were arrested in San Diego Wednesday after an alleged undercover sting operation caught them selling dozens of stolen firearms, rounds of ammunition in sealed crates and high-capacity magazines to purported members of a Mexican drug cartel, according to a federal complaint.
Jaime Casillas and Andrew Reyes were allegedly caught after an eight month sting operation run by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the complaint said.
A spokesman for the National Guard told NBC 7 that at least one of the men mentioned in the federal complaint is a member of the National Guard and are working to confirm if the other man is a member. The National Guard spokesman had no comment on the complaint.
Over the course of seven different transactions, the complaint said, the men allegedly sold thousands of rounds of ammunition to men they believed would give the products to Mexican drug cartels.
The undercover agents purchasing the products told the men – who were in their uniforms for at least part of the sales process - that their weapons would be shipped to drug cartels in Mexico, the complaint said. During one transaction, the men allegedly showed up in their uniforms and collected $2,150 from the agent for an AR-15 rifle.
Throughout the sting, the men allegedly sold more than a dozen firearms to undercover officers in addition to selling stolen military ammunition to confidential informants. Among those weapons were four AR-15 rifles, an AK-47 assault rifle, a .40-caliber pistol and a 7.62 caliber SKS rifle, the complaint alleged.
Some of the items were issued by the military, according to the complaint, while others were purchased in Texas and then re-sold. Some of those weapons, the men allegedly told the undercover agents, were “hot,” meaning they had been used in a crime or were stolen. Reyes also told an agent that the so-called SAPI plates and ammunition magazines were from military inventory.
The complaint alleged the men sold more than 4,000 rounds of stolen military ammunition in sealed crates to the men in addition to 190 stolen high-capacity magazines still in their sealed packages from the Army. They also allegedly sold 24 military-grade body armor vests.
Reyes was taken into custody at his La Mesa home and Casillas was arrested during a traffic stop in El Cajon.
The men will appear in Federal Court Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mitchell Dembin for an arraignment. They face possible unlicensed firearms dealing charges and charges for unlawfully transporting firearms bought out of state.