3 Filipino gunrunners sentenced in US | Global News

3 Filipino gunrunners sentenced in US

/ 03:39 AM March 01, 2014


LOS ANGELES—Three Filipino men have been sentenced for illegally importing military-grade weapons to the United States, including a grenade launcher, a mortar launcher, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, 12 machine guns and explosives, the US justice department announced Friday.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the justice department’s Criminal Division said the Central District of California sentenced Sergio Syjuco, 27, to seven years in jail, followed by three years of supervised release; Cesar Ubaldo, 28, to five years, followed by two years of supervised release; and Arjyl Revereza, 27, to four years and three months in jail, followed by two years of supervised release.


Syjuco was also ordered to pay a $15,000 fine.


The three Filipinos were convicted by a federal jury in March last year after a four-week trial. They were arrested in January last year after they were caught selling the weapons to an undercover agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in a sting operation conducted in the Philippines.

Illegal importation

In an indictment filed on Jan. 12, 2012, the three men were charged with importing weapons to the United States without a license, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.

According to evidence presented at trial, the defendants conspired to sell the weapons to the undercover FBI agent who posed as prospective buyer of high-powered weapons for Mexican drug cartels and Mexican Mafia gang members.

In November 2010, Ubaldo introduced the undercover FBI agent to Syjuco, who supplied the weapons, and Revereza, an officer in the Philippines’ Bureau of Customs who facilitated the shipment of the illegal weapons.



Powerful weapons

The weapons included a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, a mortar launcher, an M203 single-shot grenade launcher and 12 Bushmaster machine guns, as well as explosives including mortars and grenades.  The trial evidence also showed that the defendants had also illegally imported to the United States the highest-level military body armor.

The weapons, which were tracked by authorities during shipment, arrived in Long Beach, California, on June 7, 2011, and were immediately seized by the FBI.


The investigation was conducted by the FBI, Secret Service and the National Bureau of Investigation. Assistant US Attorney Kim Dammers and trial attorney Margaret Vierbuchen of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section prosecuted the case.

Before the trial began, Syjuco’s lawyer John Littrell alleged that the undercover FBI agent spent US taxpayer dollars on prostitutes in the Philippines for himself and others during the investigation, and asked that the charges be thrown out because of the misconduct. The motion was denied.   With a report from AP




3 Filipinos arrested in international arms trafficking

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Fil-Am brothers nabbed for international arms smuggling

TAGS: Arjyl Revereza, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Filipino Americans, Los Angeles, United States

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