LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer who had more than 250 guns in his Santa Fe Springs home when it was raided earlier this year pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal gun trafficking and tax evasion charges.
Wei Xu, 56, plead guilty to one count each of unlawfully engaging in the business of dealing in firearms, unlawfully possessing unregistered firearms, making materially false statements to a federal agency and tax evasion.
Xu, who worked as a watch commander at Long Beach Seaport, remains in custody.
On Feb. 5, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents raided Xu’s home, where they found more than 250 weapons, including 41 machine guns and two short-barreled rifles. None of the weapons were registered with ATF.
Going back to the late 1990s, Xu sold more than 99 weapons without a federal license, federal prosecutors say.
Xu used his status as an officer to buy what are known as off-roster weapons, which are guns that cannot be sold to the general public, the Justice Department says. He then sold or transferred the guns using online sites.
In July and August of 2018 he sold four guns to undercover ATF agents, three of which he sold out of the truck of his car, prosecutors say.
Xu also worked as an accounts manager for a China-based auto parts import company, prosecutors allege, but then lied about doing so in order to obtain a secret-level security clearance through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
He also plead guilty to setting up a sham Florida-based company that, between 2005 and 2017, allowed him to avoid paying federal income taxes.
Mr. Xu’s public life as a federal officer masked his private greed and disrespect for the law, which he demonstrated through illegal weapons sales, tax evasion, and lying about contacts with foreign nationals,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said in a statement. “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.”
Xu faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced in January 2020.