Denver Jury Convicts International Arms Exporter
DENVER - The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado today announces that Katherine O’Neal, a former member of the United States Army stationed at Fort Carson, was convicted in the United States District Court for smuggling goods from the United States, specifically exporting firearms to the Dominican Republic. A Colorado jury returned the verdict in federal court, convicting O’Neal of this felony offense on March 6, 2018. O’Neal was acquitted on other counts alleging false information on firearm purchase forms and money laundering.
At trial, before United States District Court Judge William J. Martinez, the Government introduced evidence showing that O’Neal made multiple trips to the Dominican Republic shortly after purchasing firearms in Denver and Colorado Springs, including one trip where she flew from Denver to the Dominican Republic with 11 firearms in her luggage in early June 2015. She declared the firearms to the airline, but did not obtain the required State Department export license. Her bags had been misdirected by the airline and were not on her flight. When the bags arrived later, Dominican Republic officials noticed the handguns during an examination of the baggage. When she arrived at the airport to claim her luggage, she was arrested. The Dominican Republic has a ban on all imported firearms. A Denver jury found her guilty of violating 18 U.S.C. § 554(a), which prohibits smuggling goods from the United States.
Defendant O’Neal will be sentenced in August 2018. The case is captioned, United States of America v. Katherine O’Neal, Case No. 15-cr-0353-WJM.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, as well as the Dominican Republic, where charges are pending her extradition to that country.
Assistant United States Attorneys Robert Brown and Kurt Bohn are prosecuting this matter for the United States.
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