SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Two Mexican
nationals were indicted on Thursday on charges of running an outlaw
weapons-supply shop in northern California that assembled and sold
unmarked, illegal firearms and accessories, including machine-guns and
A federal grand jury in Sacramento indicted brothers Luis
Cortez-Garcia, 44, and Emiliano Cortez-Garcia, 37, on one count each
of unlawful manufacturing and sales of firearms, conspiracy to
unlawfully manufacture and sell firearms and multiple counts related
to making and selling illegal assault rifles, U.S. Attorney Benjamin
Wagner said in a statement.
"The conduct alleged in this case involves the systematic evasion of
federal firearms laws, for profit, in a manner that created a real
threat to public safety," Wagner said.
Additionally, both brothers were charged with being illegal
immigrants in possession of firearms.
The men are accused of belonging to a network of criminal arms
manufacturers and dealers with operations across central and
They are suspected of running outlaw supply shops in Sacramento and
Fresno where they would assemble firearms for customers who bought
gun components from the brothers or from other members of their
network, Wagner said.
The brothers are also accused of illegally selling fully functional
unmarked firearms that were purchased in cash by customers without
required background checks, waiting periods or proper paperwork,
The Cortez-Garcias were arrested during raids last fall by federal
and local law enforcement officers on 11 locations where 345
unlicensed guns were seized, officials said.
Danny Brace, a private attorney representing Luis Cortez-Garcia,
said his client and his brother deny ever fully assembling or
selling a firearm. He said the men were lawfully assisting customers
in assembling rifle parts.
Federal law allows a person to manufacture a firearm without a
serial number for personal use, as long as it is not sold or
transferred to another person.
"They were open for business," Brace told Reuters. "They weren't
trying to hide anything."
The brothers face five to 10 years in federal prison for each count
against them if convicted, but they would likely serve that time
concurrently, Justice Department spokeswoman Lauren Horwood said.
They were being held without bail at the Sacramento County Jail,
awaiting an arraignment date, Horwood said.