MADISON, Wis. – A former Navy lieutenant living in northwestern Wisconsin has been illegally selling military equipment, including laser gun sights, and hoarding automatic weapons, federal prosecutors said.
Federal agents and police discovered more than 65 machine guns on David Carmel's property in Gilman, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Madison. The complaint alleges unlawful possession of two machine guns.
Carmel, 32, also faces federal charges in New York of selling stolen U.S. military laser targeting devices and machine gun parts to an undercover agent. Those counts were filed May 21.
He was arrested Wednesday in Chippewa County shortly before he was to meet an undercover agent at the Leinenkugel's Brewery, according to the Wisconsin complaint.
He appeared in federal court in Minneapolis on Friday and was released on bond, said Sara O'Reilly, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office there. He was due to appear in federal court in Madison on Monday morning. His attorney, Reynaldo Aligada, didn't return a message Friday.
Carmel served as a supply officer on the minesweeper USS Shrike and purchased hundreds of unneeded laser sights, machine gun barrels, night vision goggles and machine gun parts for the ship, the New York complaint said. Carmel was relieved of his supply officer duties for misappropriating government property and misusing his authority.
Carmel told investigators he moved gun barrels and ammunition to Wisconsin when he left the military in November 2005 and had bought machine gun barrels from commercial sources.
Federal investigators in April 2006 discovered someone was trying to sell a "destroyed" rifle scope on eBay. By Department of Defense directive, laser scopes must be destroyed when no longer used.
They tracked the account to Carmel's father, who gave his son's telephone number to an undercover agent.
During the next year Carmel allegedly sold four laser sights that had been built for the Defense Department and machine gun parts to an undercover agent, who received the goods at his Manhattan office's undercover address. Carmel told the agent he still knew a lot of people in the military "and for the most part anything is relatively available," according to the complaint.
The agent paid Carmel about $7,280 in total, the New York complaint said.
A spokeswoman with the U.S. attorney's office in New York declined to comment. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Przybylinski Finn in Madison didn't return a message.