LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A U.S. Customs and Border Protection supervisory officer from Santa Fe Springs is facing federal charges alleging that he engaged in the business of unlawfully selling firearms without a license, including an illegal short-barreled rifle purchased by an undercover investigator, it was announced Wednesday.
Wei Xu, 56, an officer at the Los Angeles and Long Beach Seaport, was taken into custody Tuesday and made his initial appearance this afternoon in federal court in downtown Los Angeles where he was not asked to enter a plea, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Arraignment is set for Feb. 26.
Sky2 was over the home Tuesday, where Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents were seen searching the residence and removing evidence.
The criminal complaint alleges that Xu sold or otherwise transferred at least 70 firearms through a federal firearms license dealer since 2014.
Court papers allege Xu exploited his status as a law enforcement officer to purchase and then transfer at least 14 “off-roster” handguns that cannot be sold to the general public.
Xu also sold or transferred firearms within days or weeks from the date he purchased them, prosecutors allege. He allegedly operated his business by posting advertisements on internet marketplaces.
According to an affidavit, an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a buyer purchased a total of four firearms from Xu, three of which were unlawfully sold out of the trunk of car. Federal prosecutors allege the firearms included an “off-roster” pistol, high-capacity magazines, and a short-barreled rifle.
A federal search warrant was executed at Xu’s residence Tuesday and unsealed Wednesday. Federal authorities seized more than 300 firearms, including numerous assault rifles, two additional short-barreled rifles and what appear to be machine guns, according to the government.
If convicted of the charge of dealing firearms without a license, Xu would face up to five years in federal prison. The charge of possessing an unlicensed firearm carries a maximum of 10 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)