Three former Marines arrested after ‘selling assault rifles to notorious LA street gang’

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Last updated at 3:42 PM on 10th November 2010
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Three retired Marines have been arrested after allegedly selling two boxes of AK47 assault rifles to a notorious Los Angeles street gang.  Adam Gitschlag, who served in Iraq, was arrested at his suburban home in Orange County, California, following an investigation by Federal agents.  He is accused of supervising the sale of two cases of firearms to members of the Florencia 13 gang for $6,000.

Gitschlag and another former Marine met with the men in the car park of a Pasadena Post Office, according to the ATF.  Three retired Marines have been arrested after allegedly selling two boxes of AK47 assault rifles to a notorious Los Angeles street gang.
Adam Gitschlag, who served in Iraq, was arrested at his suburban home in Orange County, California, following an investigation by Federal agents.He is accused of supervising the sale of two cases of firearms to members of the Florencia 13 gang for $6,000.Gitschlag and another former Marine met with the men in the car park of a Pasadena Post Office, according to the ATF.But one of the group was an informant, who confirmed that Gitschlag agreed to sell more weapons to the gang.

The gang member never took possession of the weapons, and the informant gave them to ATF agents after the sale.

On Monday, ATF agents arrested Jose Smith Pacheco, 31, of Montebello, and Miguel Ortiz, 49, of Northridge, both former Marines.

Also arrested were Edwin Cano, 33, of Northridge, and Christopher Thomas, 32, of Van Nuys.

All five defendants are charged with having unlawful assault weapons. Cano faces additional counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Investigators are still trying to determine where the guns came from, but several were purchased at gun shows in Arizona, ATF spokesman Chris Hoffman said.

Florencia 13 is a long-established Latino street gang which has grown to control large swaths of South Los Angeles.

The gang has been blamed for numerous murders, including the racist killings of black residents.

John Torres, the ATF’s special agent in charge of the Los Angeles area, said: ‘It is a shame that these individuals took an oath to protect the nation, but placed the communities at risk by allegedly selling illegal high-powered firearms to gang members.’

Stunned neighbours stood at the end of Gitschlag’s driveway as agents raided his house last week.

Boxes of ammunition and dozens of pistols and rifles were hauled out the building, including camouflaged, tactical-looking rifles with high-power scopes.

Authorities seized more than 20 handguns and 45 rifles and shotguns, as well as 4,000 rounds of ammunition.

Gitschlag said the charges are ‘definitely untrue’, claiming he is a private weapons collector and patriot who has worked hard to serve his country.

‘I did not sell any gang members any weapons,’ he added. ‘I love my country with all my heart. I would never expect my government to do this.’

He said most of the seized weapons were antiques, and he denied having any assault rifles.

Gitschlag left the Marines in 2005 after serving in Fallujah. He said he is a disabled combat veteran.

The arrests were announced a week after a Navy SEAL in San Diego and two others were charged with smuggling machine guns from Iraq for sale on the black market.

SEAL Nicholas Bickle of San Diego smuggled 80 AK-47 weapons from Iraq or Afghanistan, including factory-made 7.62 mm Iraqi machine guns that would be difficult or impossible to trace.

Other weapons included Ruger handguns of the type used by US military police officers.

1 Comment

  1. dependable source

    July 16, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    You might being interested to know the facts regarding the arrest of Adam Gitschlag. When he was arrested he had 3 guns- one that was disassembled, one 22 cal. and one AK. All were legal guns and legal purchases. All of the guns seized at his residence were legal and most vintage collectables (which have somehow disappeared). Along with the guns the ATF seized all of his financials, which were not said to be on the warrant (it is reported that money ended up missing from his account soon afterwards). The video and audio proof of his crime deal? The ATF never produced it in court, despite orders to do so. They gave one reason after another but never one that was believable. The ATF agents that made this thing up- discredited in court and their accounts thrown out. A senior ATF agent confidentially said: “This should not have even been a case.” The confidential informant was never identified, but is believed to have been someone who had an ax to grind and perhaps was a person that was rejected by Gitschlags girl friend (described once as a border line stalker). The gang members had no relationship to Gitschlag and had their trials severed from his by the judge. Did possible gang members contact Gitschlag? Mr. Gitschlag thinks they may have and he reported it to friends at the local police department on more than one occasion. The police never looked into the reports and would not testify because, as one officer put it, they were afraid for their careers, as the ATF was involved. With all of this the case folded like a house of cards. Since the federal district attorneys office and ATF were so embarrassed the case was handed over to the local state district attorneys offices. They prosecuted Mr. Gitschlag for not having a “clip” safety device on all of his pistol magazines. Something that is not required in other states and rarely prosecuted. Now Gitschlag has a criminal record and five years probation. According to sources within the California probation system, his probation officer has has supposedly said “I’m going to get you.” and refused to transfer his case to his home state, despite the fact his mother is said to be very ill. Transfers are normally given if the the state system is willing to accept the person. Aside from revenge, the only reason not to transfer his probation case is the fact that his crime is probably not a crime in the state of Louisiana.

    So, what can we conclude from this case? Mr. Gitschlag probably is not probably not an angel or someone you would want your daughter to date. HOWEVER, given the sources of these reports, it would seem safe to conclude that Adam Gitschlag is probably innocent. If so, he is a victim of a law enforcement agency of the federal government that is in need of new leadership, purging of officers that care only for a quick career fix, and, in the the end, revenge for their own mistakes.

    Can any say: “Fast and Furious”.

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