United States Seeks Forfeiture of Property Related to Federal Firearms Smuggling and Money Laundering Charges
WASHINGTON – A 10-count civil forfeiture complaint was filed yesterday in the District of New Mexico seeking forfeiture of assets related to a gun shop in Deming, N.M., whose owner and employees were previously indicted on charges related to firearms smuggling and money laundering, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales of the District of New Mexico and Dennis A. Ulrich, acting special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, Texas.
The complaint alleges that, between April 2010 and July 2011, property associated with New Deal Shooting Sports was used in connection with, among other things, a conspiracy to make false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms and to illegally export firearms to Mexico, a conspiracy to engage in money laundering, and a conspiracy to facilitate the trafficking of narcotics.
According to the complaint, New Deal was owned and operated by Rick Reese. Rick Reese, his wife, Terri Reese, and their two adult sons, Ryin and Remington Reese, worked at New Deal selling firearms, ammunition and other supplies. The complaint alleges, among other things, that the Reeses sold firearms and ammunition to individuals, knowing that these firearms and the ammunition were being illegally sent to Mexico. As set out in the complaint, the investigation of the Reeses included an undercover investigation by federal law enforcement officials. During the undercover investigation, the Reeses sold firearms and ammunition to confidential sources who were working with law enforcement and to undercover law enforcement agents posing as straw purchasers, believing that the confidential sources and agents intended to illegally smuggle the firearms and ammunition to Mexico.
On Aug. 30, 2011, Rick Reese, Terri Reese, Ryin Reese and Remington Reese were arrested on charges contained in a 30-count indictment filed in the District of New Mexico. An indictment is merely a charge and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The civil forfeiture complaint seeks forfeiture of the real property associated with New Deal, and approximately: 1,428 firearms; 1,975,262 rounds of assorted ammunition; 535 canisters of smokeless powder; 4,757 ammunition magazines; $117,823 in gold and silver coins; four vehicles registered to the New Deal; assorted body armor; 17 gun safes; approximately $11,019 from New Deal bank accounts and approximately $106,449 in cash; and one ammunition reloading bench. The properties, except for the real property associated with New Deal, were seized pursuant to seizure warrants issued by a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of New Mexico on Aug. 26, 2011, and executed by HSI agents on Aug. 30, 2011. The seized properties are currently in the custody of HSI officials.
The civil case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Jean Weld, Pam Hicks and Kristen Warden and Deputy Chief Frederick Reynolds of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steve Kotz, Nathan Lichvarcik and Maria Y. Armijo of the District of New Mexico. The related criminal case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lichvarcik and Armijo. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations with support from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, New Mexico State Police and the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office.