Two active members of the U.S. Army National Guard were arrested in San Diego, California, on Wednesday for allegedly trying to sell guns, military ammunition and body armor to purported Mexican drug cartel members, law enforcement officials briefed on the federal probe said.
Jaime Casillas and Andrew Reyes allegedly were caught in a sting operation run by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to an official briefed on the probe.
Casillas was arrested during a traffic stop in El Cajon and Reyes was arrested at his La Mesa home, according to a Justice Department press release. Both men worked in the Army National Guard Armory in La Mesa, according to the release.
The men made more than dozen sales of firearms, including AR-15 rifles, and stolen military ammunition, to confidential informants working with the ATF, the official said.
The men were told by the informants that the arsenal would be shipped to Mexico to drug cartels, according to the official. Casillas and Reyes wore their Army combat uniforms during at least some of the sales, the official said.
Among the sales: at least 10 firearms, including AR-15 style rifles, more than 4,000 rounds of military ammunition in sealed crates stolen from the military, 190 high-capacity, military-style magazines still in sealed packages also stolen from the Army and 24 military-grade body armor vests.
The men are scheduled to be arraigned federal court at 2 p.m. Thursday where they are facing possible charges of unlicensed firearms dealing and unlawfully transporting firearms bought out of state, according to the release.
The California National Guard said in a statement Reyes is a staff sergeant and Casillas is a specialist; both are presently assigned to Troop C, 1-18, a California Army National Guard Calvary unit in El Cajon, California.