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- 05-15-2012, 06:57 PM #1
Marines sold stolen combat weapons to gangs, China
Marines sold stolen combat weapons to gangs, China
By Jeff Black, msnbc.com
American troops sold $2 million worth of weapons and combat gear, including assault rifles and night vision goggles to street gangs and to foreign countries, including China, in a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy uncovered by a Navy probe, according to military officials.
A two-year undercover investigation has implicated more than 60 individuals, an official with the Navy Criminal Navy Investigative Service (NCIS) told The Daily News in Jacksonville, N.C. Many of those involved were stationed at Camp Lejeune, a sprawling coastal Marine Corps installation that is home to special operations and expeditionary forces.
Some of the equipment was sold over eBay and Craigslist, though weapons and ammunition were also sold at yard sales and in secretive face-to-face meetings, according to the paper.
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- 05-15-2012, 08:30 PM #2
Officials: Stolen guns, equipment sold on auction sites
May 15, 2012 9:57 AM
Marines used websites like eBay, Craigslist and Lejeune Yard Sales to sell more than $2 million in stolen combat equipment to the highest bidder, including those in China, Naval investigators said Monday.
Altogether, more than 60 people have been implicated in a two-year undercover operation by agents with Naval Criminal Investigative Service to staunch the flow of stolen guns and gear aboard Lejeune and other military installations, said Ed Buice, public affairs officer for NCIS in Quantico, Va.
“The case is still active and ongoing in partnership with several other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies,” he said. “I can’t go into much detail.”
The NCIS probe has spilled over into the Army and Air Force with soldiers and airmen being investigated as well, as first reported in The Daily News.
The operation so far has resulted in the recovery of $1.8 million in stolen weapons and equipment and ballooned to include the FBI; Homeland Security; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Defense Logistics Agency; the N.C. State Bureau of Investigations, and several local law enforcement agencies including the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office and the Jacksonville Police Department.
Buice said it all began with a tip to the NCIS Carolinas Field Office aboard Lejeune that stolen government property was being sold on auction websites.
The special agent-in-charge of NCIS Carolinas, Joe Kennedy, could not be reached for comment.
NCIS agents found equipment not only was being sold online, but guns and ammunition were being sold at yard sales and in clandestine face-to-face deals.
“NCIS did an in-depth analysis of the cases and saw there was definitely a growing problem,” Buice said. “Undercover agents have worked extensively to build cases against those involved during the last two years.”
Agents found that some military members were selling guns, or attempting to sell guns, to street gangs in North Carolina and elsewhere, according to a government official familiar with the operation.
So far 47 service members and 21 civilians have been charged. About half of those have been to trial with many pleading guilty to the offenses, Buice said.
The Daily News has requested but not yet received a complete list of those who have been charged.
A Marine officer who played a key role in the conspiracy was found guilty last week by court martial and sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and dismissal from the Corps.
Capt. Donald E. Pump Jr. was convicted of violating several articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice to include Article 80 for attempting to sell military property of a value more than $500 and Article 81 for participating in a conspiracy.
Pump was stationed aboard Camp Lejeune until a transfer to Hawaii last year. Residents of the Cow Horn Village cul-de-sac where Pump lived while in Jacksonville said they were not surprised by his arrest. Neighbors said Pump had AR-15 assault rifles in his garage and frequent visitors.
Pump began his military career in the Coast Guard where he patrolled New York Harbor in support of Homeland Security. He joined the Marine Corps in 2006 and served as a martial arts instructor in Quantico, Va., before deploying to Iraq with the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.
His two-story house in Cow Horn Village, valued in tax records at $190,000, is empty and has been listed with a local real estate office for the last three weeks.
On Monday, The Daily News reported that a sergeant with Marine Corps Special Operations Command had been found guilty of stealing and reselling military property.
Sgt. Daniel Adam Reich, a former member of 3rd Marine Special Operations Battalion, was convicted of selling and attempting to sell military property and conspiracy. He was sentenced to 40 months in prison and a dishonorable discharge, MarSOC spokesman Maj. Jeff Landis said.
So far recovered items in the operation include but are not limited to assault rifles, night-vision goggles and $800 flashlights, government officials said.
Camp Lejeune and the II Marine Expeditionary Force have been working closely with NCIS to investigate the thefts and recover the equipment, said Nat Fahy, deputy director of public relations for Marine Corps Installations East.
Stolen guns, equipment sold on auction sites | stolen, lejeune, guns - Officials - News Source for Jacksonville, North Carolina - jdnews.com
Last edited by Newmexican; 05-15-2012 at 09:01 PM.