News|Law Enforcement

Last Wednesday, A U.S. Customs and Border Protection watch commander at the Port of Los Angeles has admitted to running an illegal firearms operation, authorities said.

Former CBP agent, Wei Xu of Santa Fe Springs was arrested on Feb.5th after an investigation involving undercover federal agents. Mr. Xu sold three guns to undercover agents out of the trunk of his car, including one “off-roster” pistol not certified to be sold in California, according to U.S. attorney’s office.

He has been on unpaid administrative leave since his arrest and will be fired, said Ciaran McEvoy, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office.

Last week in court, Mr. Xu pleaded guilty to illegally selling firearms on the internet, creating a fake company to avoid paying taxes, and illegally possessing unregistered firearms. Xu also pleaded guilty to making false statements to a federal agency about his involvement with a Chinese company to get a secret-level security clearance.

Between the late 90s until his arrest Xu sold at least 99 machine guns without a license. Officials also stated he exploited his status as federal law enforcement officer to buy weapons that cannot be sold to the public by FFL dealer in California.

In February when investigators searched Xu’s home, they found more than 250 weapons, 41 machine guns, and 2 short barrel rifles (SBRs). None of the 250 firearms where registered with the ATF, according to officials on the investigation.

Investigators also unearthed that Xu was an accounts manager for a Chinese-based auto parts import company. A company he helped make a profit and was giving a commission for his assistance. Yet, when filling out questionnaires for his secret-level security clearance he denied having contacts with foreign nationals or foreign financial interests, according to prosecutors. Xu filed improper security clearance paperwork in 2003, 2011, and 2015.

Also included in Mr. Xu testimony was that he setup a fake company based out of Florida called Trans Pacific Group, Inc. Xu used the shell company to claim business losses, offset his income, and evade paying taxes.

The L.A. Times asked about Mr. Xu’s employment with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency stated, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection leadership stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission, and the overwhelming majority of CBP officers perform their duties with honor and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe. CBP officers take an Oath of Office, a solemn pledge that conveys great responsibility and one that should be carried out at all times with the utmost professionalism. CBP officers who disregard that oath and instead choose to violate the trust of the citizens they swore to protect are held accountable.”

In a press release U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna had harsh words for Mr. Xu stating, “Mr. Xu’s public life as a federal officer masked his private greed and disrespect for the law. Public officials promise to act with integrity when they take an oath of office, and we will zealously prosecute those who mock the laws they have sworn to uphold.”

References

Customs Officer at Long Beach Port Admits to Illegally Selling Guns, Evading Taxes (KTLA)

Gun-running Long Beach customs agent had 41 machine guns stashed at home (L.A. Times)

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