A former U.S. Customs and Border Protection watch commander at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal criminal charges for running an illegal gun-selling business. Wei Xu, 56, of Santa Fe Springs, pleaded guilty to four felonies: unlawfully engaging in the business of dealing in firearms, unlawfully possessing unregistered firearms, making materially false statements to a federal agency, and tax evasion, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Authorities said Wu had more than 40 machine guns and other illegal firearms. They said he also failed to disclose his foreign financial interests and contacts in China in order to obtain a secret-level security clearance. U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner scheduled a Jan. 14 sentencing hearing in downtown Los Angeles. Xu, who face up to 25 years in federal prison, has been in custody since his arrest on Feb. 5. Xu admitted in his plea agreement and in open court that he sold at least 99 firearms without the required federal license between the late 1990s and his arrest. To increase the profit margin of his unlawful firearms-selling business, Xu exploited his status as a law enforcement officer to purchase and then transfer “off-roster” handguns that cannot be sold to the general public, according to the plea agreement. [full article]
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