Three Philippine Nationals Arrested in International Arms Trafficking Case
WASHINGTON – Three Philippine nationals have been arrested on charges of violating the Arms Export Control Act, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. of the Central District of California and Steven M. Martinez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
Sergio Santiago de Leon Syjuco, aka “Yogi,” 25, of Muntinlupa City, Philippines; Cesar Paolo Inciong Ubaldo, aka “Arvi,” 26, of Paranaque City, Philippines; and Arjyl Revereza, 25, of Manila, Philippines, were charged in criminal complaint unsealed yesterday in the Central District of California with importing defense articles into the United States without a license, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act. Syjuco, Ubaldo and Revereza were arrested upon their entry into the United States on Jan. 5, 2012. They will make their initial appearances today in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia G. Rosenberg. According to the complaint, the case is part of an FBI investigation of transnational Asian organized crime groups involved in the illicit trafficking of firearms.
The complaint alleges that on June 7, 2011, Syjuco, Ubaldo and Revereza imported various defense articles – items specifically designed, developed, configured, adapted or modified for military application – into the United States from the Republic of the Philippines, including 12 fully automatic Bushmaster M-4 .223 caliber rifles, a .50 caliber sniper rifle, an M14 7.62mm assault rifle, a single-shot grenade launcher, a rocket propelled grenade (RPG-7) launcher, a mortar launcher, an AK-47 rifle and ballistic vests. None of the defendants had a license to import these items into the United States. Law enforcement officers took possession of the items when they entered the United States.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum of 20 years in prison.
The case was investigated by the FBI. The Philippines National Bureau of Investigations also provided significant assistance in this matter. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Margaret Honrath and Margaret Vierbuchen of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ariel Neuman of the Central District of California.
The details contained in the complaint are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.