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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 18, 2019

South Florida Resident Pleads Guilty to Selling Firearms to a Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, the ELN

MIAMI - A South Florida resident pled guilty today to illegally selling firearms to the National Liberation Army (ELN), a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization and a violent paramilitary group operating in South America. 

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI’s Miami Field Office, Diane J. Sabatino, Director, Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Miami Field Office, Ari C. Shapira, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Office, and Anthony Salisbury, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office announced that Francisco Joseph Arcila Ramirez (Arcila), a Colombian national, pled guilty to providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2339B(a)(1).

According to court records, on August 16, 2018, Arcila instructed two co-conspirators to illegally purchase six firearms in Miami-Dade County on Arcila’s behalf.  These firearms included four Draco 7.62mm caliber AK-style pistols and two Zastava M92 7.62mm AK-style pistols. The firearms were then concealed in Husky air-compressors purchased by Arcila at a Miami-area Home Depot and shipped to Barranquilla, Colombia.  This shipment also contained approximately one hundred AK-47 ammunition magazines. 

On Sept. 5, 2018, Arcila attended a meeting in Colombia, where he met with an ELN weapons broker to discuss the sale of the six firearms Arcila had recently shipped into Colombia.  In addition to agreeing to the sale of these six firearms, Arcila and the weapons broker further discussed other future sales, to include firearm magazines and firearm components in the coming months.  At the conclusion of this meeting, the weapons broker provided approximately sixty million Colombian pesos as the purchase price for the firearms. 

Arcila is scheduled to be sentenced in Miami by U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez on Dec. 19, 2019 at 1:45 p.m. (Case No. 19CR20036).  Arcila faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison, a lifetime term of supervised release, and a maximum fine of $250,000. 

U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of FBI, CBP, ATF and ICE-HSI.  This case is being prosecuted by Southern District of Florida Assistant U.S. Attorneys Randy A. Hummel and Michael R. Sherwin, and by DOJ Counterterrorism Section Trial Attorney David Smith.

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 at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated October 18, 2019