Two U.S. Army National Guardsmen have been charged with illegally attempting to sell guns, some issued by the military, as well as ammunition and body armor to Mexican drug cartels.
Jaime Casillas, 22, and Andrew Reyes, 34, were arrested Wednesday in Southern California, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office in San Diego. Both men worked in the Army National Guard Armory in La Mesa, Calif.
The Justice Department alleges that Casillas and Reyes sold 10 guns, including four AK-47 assault rifles, and thousands of rounds of ammunition to an undercover agent posing as a cartel member. The complaint says some of the arms were from the military and others were bought in Texas and resold in California.
Federal authorities also allege that Casillas and Reyes told the agent that some of the guns that came in from Texas had obliterated serial numbers or were "hot," meaning that the weapons had been stolen or used to commit a crime.
The complaint also alleges that on one occasion, Casillas and Reyes sold an AR15 rifle to the undercover agent for $2,150. The two soldiers allegedly carried out the transaction while wearing their army uniforms.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that according to the affidavit, Casillas sold the agent 1,600 round of .223-caliber ammunition, later identified as military inventory for $700. Reyes also sold the agent 20 bullet-resistant plates used in body armor for $2,000, claiming that the gear was from the military as well. In all, the affidavit claims, the sales netted the pair $15,450.
Both men are charged with dealing firearms without a license, while Reyes is also charged with unlicensed transportation of firearms. Each count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Casillas and Reyes are scheduled to be arraigned on the charges Thursday afternoon in San Diego.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.