15 January 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida;
Jesus Torres, Special Agent in Charge, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency;
Julie Torres, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and Robert E.
Harris, Special Agent in Charge, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, announced
today that defendant, Guillermo Cardoso-Arias, pleaded guilty this afternoon before
United States District Court Judge James I Cohn, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to a two-count Indictment, charging him with knowingly engaging and attempting to engage
in the business of brokering activities with respect to the export of two hundre AK-47 fully automatic assault rifles, in violation of Title 22, United States
Code, Section 2778, and attempting to export two hundred (200) fully automatic
AK-47 assault rifles without a license, in violation of Title 22, United States
Code, Section 2778. The defendant faces a maximum statutory sentence of ten (10) years in prison per count.
In law enforcement monitored and recorded conversations, Cardoso-Arias asserted
that he was purchasing the two hundred (200) AK-47 fully automatic assault rifles on behalf of the Colombian “Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia” (“AUC”), known as the
United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia. The defendant further stated in the
referenced conversations that the weapons would be used to fight the Colombian
“Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia” (“FARC”), known as the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia.” The defendant explained that there was a need for a lot
of AK-47’s because they are lighter and easier to handle than other weapons when
climbing the mountains of Colombia.. Both the AUC and FARC have been designated by the U.S. State Department as terrorist organizations.
Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the Immigration and Customs
Enforcement, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and Defense
Criminal Investigative Service. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United
States Attorney Michael Walleisa.