Somerset County, New Jersey, Man Sentenced to 46 Months in Prison for International Arms Trafficking
TRENTON, N.J. -- A Somerset County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 46 months in prison for illegally exporting from the United States a wide array of weapons, including assault rifles, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Pedro Vergara, 55, of Branchburg, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp to an information charging him with one count of smuggling firearms from the United States. Judge Shipp imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court
From May 2017 through November 2017, Vergara purchased a number of firearms, including assault rifles, from various New Jersey-based firearms dealers, including:
- Six Century Arms, Model RAS47, 7.62 x 39 caliber rifles, each with defaced serial numbers;
- Two Romarm / Cugir, Model WASR-10, 7.62 x 39 caliber rifles, each with defaced serial numbers;
- Two Inter Ordnance Inc., Model Sporter, 7.62 x 39 caliber rifles, each with defaced serial numbers;
- One Beretta, Model PX4 Storm, 9mm caliber pistol with serial number PX299818;
- One Henry Repeating Arms, Model H001, .22 caliber rifle;
- One Smith & Wesson, Model 640, .357 caliber revolver;
- 2,000 rounds of 7.62 x 39 caliber Wolf ammunition;
- 100 rounds of .22 caliber Sellier & Bellot ammunition;
- 50 rounds of Winchester .17 HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire) caliber ammunition;
- 50 rounds of Blazer .357 caliber ammunition;
- 25 rounds of American Eagle .357 caliber ammunition;
- 550 rounds of American Eagle .22 caliber ammunition; and
- 500 rounds of CCI .22 caliber ammunition.
Vergara planned to smuggle the firearms, as well as thousands of rounds of ammunition, to a location in Paraguay and illicitly resell the weapons on the black market for profit. Vergara took steps to conceal the firearms in shipping boxes, and transported the boxes from New Jersey to a shipping company located in New York. He also concealed ownership interest in the firearms by obliterating or defacing the serial numbers from at least 10 of the weapons.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Shipp also sentenced Vergara to two years of supervised release and fined him $10,000.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the ATF, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson in Newark; special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian Michael; and the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dean C. Sovolos of the U.S. Attorney’s Office National Security Unit.