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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 12, 2019

Palm Beach County Resident Charged with Export Control Violations for Illegally Exporting Hundreds of Parts for AR-15 Assault Rifles

A Palm Beach County resident was arrested on July 11, 2019, based on a complaint charging him with conspiracy to violate and attempted violations of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) (18 U.S.C.  371 and 22 U.S.C.  2778). 

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Anthony Salisbury, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement. 

Cristian German Barrera, 47, was charged with conspiracy to violate the AECA and ITAR, and attempts to illegally export to Argentina defense articles, specifically, parts and components for AR-15 assault rifles, which were smuggled across international borders by a transnational weapons trafficking group in Argentina.  He had an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Becerra. 

According to the complaint and other court documents, Barrera illegally exported without a required license from the U.S. Department of State, to the Argentine weapons trafficking organization, hundreds of AR-15 assault rifle parts.  The investigative efforts of HSI agents in the Miami Field Office along with HSI agents stationed in Argentina, and their proactive cooperation with Argentine law enforcement officials between October and December 2019, led to the execution of search warrants in Florida and Argentina that resulted in the seizure of the equivalent of 52 AR-15 assault rifles in Florida and in Argentina: 189 long arms, 156 handguns, one mortar round, one hand grenade, over 30,000 rounds of assorted caliber ammunition, five vehicles, and $110,000 in cash.  On June 26, 2019, Argentina’s National Gendarmeria conducted an operation that led to the arrest of additional subjects and the seizure of thousands of firearms and explosive materials.

            U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of HSI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Del Toro and Trial Attorney Evan Turgeon of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.

A complaint is merely an allegation. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated July 12, 2019