MIAMI – A Florida man has pleaded guilty to illegally shipping firearms to Brazil, many of them concealed in water heaters and other large appliances.
Court records show that 46-year-old Frederik Barbieri of Port St. Lucie pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy and unlicensed export of defense items. Barbieri faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced in July.
Federal prosecutors say one shipment traced to Barbieri that was intercepted in Brazil contained 30 AK-47 and AR-15 rifles and magazines concealed in four water heaters. The gun serial numbers were obliterated.
Authorities say records later revealed dozens of shipments of other water heaters, air conditioning units and electric motors capable of concealing more firearms. A February search of his storage unit revealed 52 rifles and 2,000 rounds of ammunition.