A trio of brothers were charged after a plot was uncovered that the siblings allegedly shipped high-powered assault weapons overseas. The story has an interesting twist as two of the siblings worked in law enforcement.
The New York Daily News writes that NYPD officer Rex-Gene Maralit, 44; Los Angeles-based U.S. Customs and Borders Protection officer Wilfredo Maralit, 48; and Arial Maralit, 43, attempted to ship large amounts of high-powered assault weapons to buyers in the Philippines without approval from the government.
The Department of Justice states that the youngest Maralit helped jump start the plot in January 2009 after identifying buyers up until March of this year. The other brothers then purchased the weapons and accessories, reportedly using their status as law officers to get discounts, then broke down the weapons for later shipping. A source from the Justice Department says that the older brothers managed to smuggle some of the weapons to the island nation early on and planned to do more.
Because the brothers did not obtain proper approval, all three were charged with violating the Arms Export Control Act. Along with that charge, the gun-dealing trio was also charged with conspiring to engage in unlicensed firearm sales.
Rex-Gene Maralit appeared at the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse earlier this morning (September 6); Wilfredo Maralit is slated to appear in Federal Court in Santa Ana, Calif., at 2 p.m. Philippines authorities say Arial Maralit is still at large but a joint task force from the States and in the the country are working to arrest him.
The charges the brother face are relatively mild, with each of them facing five years max and a potential $250,000 fine. The feds want Rex-Gene Maralit to be remanded, as he is a naturalized citizen of the United States and is deemed a flight risk.
Apparently the authorities managed to uncover the plot by monitoring suspicious gun buying activity, and there also exists plenty of photo evidence as the brothers routinely sent email images of themselves flashing the weaponry.
Check out the gun-crazed brothers and their emailed photos, which was entered as evidence in their case, on the following pages. To see the entire “exhibit A” document from the feds, click here.