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Press Release

Southbridge Man Pleads Guilty to Illegally Exporting Assault Rifle and Pistol Parts

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

Boston – A Southbridge, Mass., man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Worcester today in connection with illegally shipping hundreds of firearm parts to people in 22 countries, including France, Finland, Indonesia, New Zealand, Thailand, Spain, Australia, and Germany. 

David L. Maricola, 60, Southbridge, Mass., pleaded guilty to a 32-count indictment charging him with conspiracy, illegally exporting defense articles, making false statements on customs forms, and money laundering.  U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencing for June 30, 2016. 

In 2015, Maricola and Arto Laatikanien, a 32-year old Finnish citizen, were indicted in connection with illegally exporting hundreds of assault rifle and firearm components, including parts for M16, M4, AR-15 assault rifles, Glock pistols, and UZI submachine guns.Between November 2010 and March 2012, Maricola shipped more than $100,000 worth of firearm components to Laatikainen in Finland though the U.S. Postal Service.After receiving the parts, Laatikainen sold them to criminal organizations in Finland, including the Cannonballs Outlaw Motorcycle Gang.

At today’s hearing, Maricola admitted to illegally exporting and conspiring to illegally export hundreds of firearm parts overseas using the Postal Service, lying on customs declaration forms about the contents and value of the articles he was sending, and money laundering.   Maricola acknowledged that he had obtained many of the parts he illegally exported overseas from, an auction type website, and instructed his customers to send money to him using Paypal.  Additionally, Maricola admitted that he repeatedly falsely described gun parts on customs forms as merely being “AIRSOFT” or replica firearms rather than being for actual, lethal guns.  On numerous occasions, Maricola also falsely described AR-15 assault rifles parts as “aluminum sculptures.”  

Laatikanien remains in Finland as Finland does not extradite its own nationals. 

The charges of illegally exporting defense articles and money laundering each provide for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison.  The charges of conspiracy and making false statements each provide for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison.  In addition, the charge of illegally exporting defense articles provides for no greater than three years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million on each count.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Leigh-Allistair Barzey, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Northeast Field Office; and Michael S. Imbrogna, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Indutry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement, Boston Field Office, made the announcement today.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and U.S. Postal Inspection Service provided substantial assistance during the investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney B. Stephanie Siegmann of Ortiz’s National Security Unit.

Updated April 7, 2016

National Security