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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bonsall Man Pleads Guilty in Illegal Firearms Trafficking Operations



SAN DIEGO – Clay Bautista-Marquez of Bonsall pleaded guilty in federal court this morning to a firearms trafficking violation, admitting that he and a co-conspirator sold six untraceable AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles for almost $6,000, and that the guns had been built from unfinished lower receivers.

According to his plea agreement, Bautista-Marquez pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jill L. Burkhardt to engaging in the business of manufacturing and dealing in firearms and illegally possessing three rifles and a shotgun to protect his marijuana manufacturing and trafficking operation.

Bautista-Marquez is scheduled to be sentenced before U.S. District Judge William Q. Hayes on August 31, 2015 at 9 a.m.

The case stemmed from an investigation that resulted in the seizure of more than 50 firearms and culminated in March with the arrests of Bautista-Marquez and four other men. Christian Romero, Matthew Nutt and Ruben Tovar-Ordonez were charged with participating in a scheme to manufacture and traffic in firearms. Michael Martin was charged with possession of a firearm – specifically two silencers - not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

Romero was the first to plead guilty on April 28, 2015. In his plea agreement, Romero admitted to manufacturing and selling six AR-15 type semi-automatic rifles bearing no manufacturer’s markings or serial numbers and built from unfinished lower receivers between the dates of December 8, 2014, and March 6, 2015. Like Bautista-Marquez, Romero did not have a license to manufacture or deal in firearms at the time. Romero is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge William Q. Hayes on July 20, 2015.

Cases of the remaining defendants are pending.

During the searches and throughout the investigation, federal agents seized more than 50 firearms, including silencers, a short-barreled shotgun, unfinished lower receivers and AR-15-style homemade assault rifles. Some of the firearms were stolen, or had obliterated serial numbers, or both. Agents also found thousands of rounds of ammunition and numerous unfinished lower receivers commonly known as ULRs.

As part of his plea agreement, Bautista-Marquez has agreed to forfeit to the government three rifles, a shotgun and ammunition and $3,860, all of which were seized during searches.
DEFENDANT       Criminal Case No. 14cr3360
Clay Bautista-Marquez Age 31     Bonsall, CA

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Engaging in the Business of Dealing in Firearms without a License, in violation of 18 USC 922(a)(1)(A) Maximum Penalties: Five years imprisonment, a fine of not more than $250,000, and a term of supervised release of not more than 3 years.

Possession of Firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of Title 18, USC 924(c)(1)(A). Maximum Penalties: Life in prison, with a mandatory minimum 5 years in prison and maximum fine of $250,000 fine
DEFENDANT       Criminal Case No. 15mj0721
*Christian Romero          Age 22     Bonsall, CA

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Engaging in the Business of Dealing in Firearms without a License, in violation of 18 USC 922(a)(1)(A) Maximum Penalties: Five years imprisonment, a fine of not more than $250,000, and a term of supervised release of not more than 3 years.
DEFENDANT       Criminal Case No. 15mj0740
Matthew Nutt   Age 29     Escondido, CA

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Engaging in the Business of Dealing in Firearms without a License, in violation of 18 USC 922(a)(1)(A) Maximum Penalties: Five years imprisonment, a fine of not more than $250,000, and a term of supervised release of not more than 3 years.
DEFENDANT       Criminal Case No. 15mj0740
Ruben Tovar-Ordonez   Age 45     Temecula, CA

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Unlawful Dealing in Firearms, in violation of 18 USC 922(a)(1)(A). Maximum Penalties: Five years imprisonment, a fine of not more than $250,000, and a term of supervised release of not more than 3 years.
DEFENDANT       Criminal Case No. 15mj0741
Michael Martin Age 38     Bonsall, CA

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Possession of a Firearm not Registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d). Maximum Penalties: Ten years in prison, $10,000 fine.

*Romero has pleaded guilty

INVESTIGATING AGENCIES

Drug Enforcement Administration
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Internal Revenue Service

*A complaint or indictment are not evidence that the defendants committed the crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the Government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Field Division:
Los Angeles Field Division

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