Defendants Used Law Enforcement Credentials to Obtain Military-Grade Assault Rifles, Sniper Rifles, and Other High-Powered Weapons for Smuggling to the Philippines
Former New York City Police Officer Rex Maralit and his brother Wilfredo Maralit, a Customs and Border Protection Officer assigned to Los Angeles International Airport, were sentenced earlier today at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn to three years’ imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release for their roles in an illegal scheme to smuggle high-powered assault rifles, sniper rifles, pistols, and firearms accessories from the United States to the Philippines. The defendants pleaded guilty on June 12, 2014, before United States District Judge Allyne R. Ross to violating the Arms Export Control Act. A third brother, Ariel Maralit, resides in the Philippines and remains a fugitive.
The sentences were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Assistant Attorney General John P. Carlin; Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York; Craig W. Rupert, Special Agent in Charge, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Northeast Field Office; Delano A. Read, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), New York Field Division; and William J. Bratton, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD).
“These defendants violated their sworn duties to uphold the law, abusing their positions of trust to profit from the illegal export of extremely dangerous weapons,” stated Ms. Lynch. “Today’s sentences send a powerful message that criminal conduct by police officers, federal agents, and their confederates will not be tolerated, and that no one, least of all those entrusted to protect the communities and the country they serve, is above the law.” Ms. Lynch expressed her
grateful appreciation to HSI, DCIS, ATF, and the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, which worked closely together to investigate the case, and to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey for their assistance.
Between January 2009 and September 2013, the defendants exported a variety of military-style firearms, along with high-capacity magazines and accessories for those weapons, from the United States to the Philippines where they were sold to overseas customers. Both Rex and Wilfredo Maralit used their official credentials and status to obtain and ship the weapons without first obtaining a license from the U.S. State Department. The firearms included the Barrett .50 caliber long-range semi-automatic rifle, the FN “SCAR” assault rifle, and high-capacity FN 5.7mm semi-automatic carbines and pistols which fire a cartridge that was specifically designed to penetrate body armor.
The Arms Export Control Act requires exporters of firearms to first obtain the approval of the United States State Department before shipping weapons overseas. Similarly, dealing in firearms is regulated by the ATF, which requires gun dealers to first obtain a federal firearms license before engaging in such a business.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Seth DuCharme and Sam Nitze, with assistance from Trial Attorney David Recker of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
REX G. MARALIT
Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Garden Grove, California