LAX Agent, Brothers Charged with Smuggling High-Powered Weapons
Federal agents said Friday they had charged a customs agent based at Los Angeles International Airport and his two brothers for allegedly exporting high-powered weapons from the U.S. to the Philippines without a license.
Wilfredo Maralit, a Customs and Border Protection officer at LAX, and his brother Rex Maralit, a New York City police officer, were arrested and scheduled to appear in court pm Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement. A third brother, Ariel, remained at large.
Wilfredo worked with Rex to buy the weapons from licensed firearms dealers in the U.S., the statement said. They would then would send them in disguised packages to their brother Ariel, who lives in the Philippines and would find customers there, authorities said.
The brothers allegedly exchanged by email photographs of themselves posing with the military-grade weapons they were illegally shipping overseas.
None of the brothers were licensed in the U.S. to export or deal in firearms.
Wilfredo was scheduled to appear in federal court in downtown Los Angeles on Friday, while Rex was due to appear in a federal court in New York.