13 May – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – A Granada Hills man has been charged with impersonating a federal official when he attempted to purchase a handgun by sending correspondence in which he claimed to be a special agent with the National Security Agency.
Carmelo Avila, 41, was charged Wednesday with impersonating a federal official and being a felon in possession of ammunition. In a plea agreement also filed Wednesday, Avila agreed to plead guilty to the two felony charges that carry a potential penalty of 13 years in federal prison.
In early March, Avila – who was posing as “Special Agent Daniel Jan Kariya” – sent a letter to Glock, Inc. in Smyrna, Georgia. In the letter, “Kariya” asked to purchase a Glock G20 10mm handgun, identifying himself as a “Special Agent/Joint Counterterrorism Task Force Operative involved in very Highly Classified and Confidential affairs pertaining to the security of our nation.” The letter also reported that the NSA had performed a background check on “Kariya” and that he had no convictions for “misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence or crimes of any other nature (felonies of otherwise).” Avila followed up with several telephone calls to Glock in which he posed as NSA agent “Kariya.”
On April 8, representatives of the Los Angeles Joint Terrorism Task Force went to Avila’s residence. Avila admitted that he had sent the letter and that he was not a member of any law enforcement or government agency. Avila was arrested at that time.
During a search of his residence, investigators found two 10 mm Glock magazines, each loaded with 10 rounds of Winchester 10 mm ammunition, and one black leather pouch filled with five rounds of Winchester 10 mm ammunition. Because Avila has two prior felony convictions – including a 1999 conviction for impersonating a Secret Service agent – he is prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition.
Avila is scheduled to be arraigned on the two-count criminal information on May 23.
This case was investigated by members of the Los Angeles Joint Terrorism Task Force, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.