Brazilian Man Pleads Guilty to Firearms Trafficking Charges
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Hugo Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), announce that Sergio Carvalho, 50, formerly of Boca Raton and Brazil, pled guilty today to charges of making false statements in a firearm sales record, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(a).
Sentencing is scheduled for September 18, 2014 before Chief U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore in Fort Pierce. At sentencing, Carvalho faces a possible maximum statutory sentence of up to five years in prison.
According to statements made in open court and documents filed in the case, Carvalho together with his colleague Moizes Maia Nogueira, 44, Pembroke Pines, visited a federally licensed firearms dealer named Vincent Olavarria, Jr., 48, Port St. Lucie, on March 30, 2001, in Port St. Lucie. The two men purchased twelve semiautomatic rifles from Olavarria, requesting that Olavarria conceal their names from the firearms sales records. Olavarria agreed to the request, and falsely placed the rifles in the names of other straw purchasers, when completing the sales paperwork required by federal law. Both Nogueira and Carvalho then resold and delivered rifles to Vicente de Paula Vieira, and his son Marcos Barbosa Vieira, two Brazilians who were exporting firearms illegally from the United States to Brazil. Olavarria recruited other straw purchasers to lend their names to false sales records concealing the actual destination of the rifles.
An ATF investigation into the sales records discrepancies led ATF Special Agents to question Carvalho in April 2011 about his purchase of rifles from Olavarria. Carvalho falsely denied knowledge of the rifles. Carvalho also did not volunteer the existence or involvement of Nogueira or the father and son team of the Vieiras, and their respective exports of firearms to Brazil. Following a federal Grand Jury indictment of the defendants in September 2012, all of the other charged defendants have pled guilty and been sentenced by Chief Judge Moore. In June 2013, Olavarria was sentenced to 34 months in prison, and Nogueira was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Straw buyer Darren Cuff, 26, Port St. Lucie, was sentenced in June 2013, to 21 months in prison, and in September 2013, straw buyer Anthony Olavarria, 49, Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico, was sentenced to five months in prison. Both Vicente de Paula Vieira and Marcos Barbosa Vieira have been arrested in Brazil by the Brazilian Federal Police and charged with crimes of firearms importation under Brazilian law.
Carvalho was found and arrested on April 30, 2014, in New Orleans, Louisiana, on the arrest warrant from his indictment in this case, and the U.S. Marshals Service returned him to Fort Pierce to face the pending charges.
This case is a result of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). PSN is a Department of Justice nationwide initiative that combines traditional law enforcement activities with community-based support and intervention programs. The two primary goals of the PSN initiative are to reduce and prevent violent crimes and to help past offenders adjust and re-enter the community.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ATF and the U.S. Marshals Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore Cooperstein.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.