New York City Police Officer and Customs and Border Protection Officer Sentenced to Three Years for International Arms Trafficking
Defendants Used Law Enforcement Credentials to Obtain Military-Grade Assault Rifles, Sniper Rifles and Other High-Powered Weapons for Smuggling to the Philippines
U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch of the Eastern District of New York, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, Special Agent in Charge Raymond R. Parmer Jr. of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) New York, Special Agent in Charge Craig W. Rupert of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) Northeast Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Delano A. Read of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) New York Field Division and Commissioner William J. Bratton of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) announced today that former New York City Police Officer Rex Maralit and his brother Wilfredo Maralit, a Customs and Border Protection Officer assigned to Los Angeles International Airport, were sentenced earlier today at the federal courthouse in the Eastern District of New York to each serve three years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release for their roles in an illegal scheme to smuggle high-powered assault rifles, sniper rifles, pistols and firearms accessories from the United States to the Philippines. The defendants pleaded guilty on June 12, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Allyne R. Ross of the Eastern District of New York to violating the Arms Export Control Act. A third brother, Ariel Maralit, resides in the Philippines and remains a fugitive.
“These defendants violated their sworn duties to uphold the law, abusing their positions of trust to profit from the illegal export of extremely dangerous weapons,” said U.S. Attorney Lynch. “Today’s sentences send a powerful message that criminal conduct by police officers, federal agents, and their confederates will not be tolerated, and that no one, least of all those entrusted to protect the communities and the country they serve, is above the law.”
Between January 2009 and September 2013, the defendants exported a variety of military-style firearms, along with high-capacity magazines and accessories for those weapons, from the United States to the Philippines where they were sold to overseas customers. Both Rex and Wilfredo Maralit used their official credentials and status to obtain and ship the weapons without first obtaining a license from the U.S. State Department. The firearms included the Barrett .50 caliber long-range semi-automatic rifle, the FN “SCAR” assault rifle, and high-capacity FN 5.7mm semi-automatic carbines and pistols which fire a cartridge that was specifically designed to penetrate body armor.
The Arms Export Control Act requires exporters of firearms to first obtain the approval of the U.S. State Department before shipping weapons overseas. Similarly, dealing in firearms is regulated by ATF, which requires gun dealers to first obtain a federal firearms license before engaging in such business.
The case was investigated by HSI, DCIS, ATF and the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, with assistance provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of New Jersey.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Seth DuCharme and Sam Nitze of the Eastern District of New York, with assistance from Trial Attorney David Recker of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.