A city police officer and his two brothers have been arrested and charged with illegally exporting high-powered rifles and other weapons from the U.S. to the Philippines. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
New York City police officer Rex Maralit was really into high-powered assault rifles. So was his brother, Wilfredo, a customs and border protection officer assigned to Los Angeles International Airport. But the officers are accused of breaking the law by secretly shipping some of the the most powerful firearms in the world from the U.S. overseas without the proper approval or license.
"Another brother in the Philippines. The allegations are that the items were being sent to the brother in the Philippines," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
That brother's name is Ariel Maralit. Federal prosecutors say he would find customers for the weapons Rex and Wilfredo bought online from legitimate gun dealers in various states.
Prosecutors say the brothers didn't hide the fact that were law enforcement officers from the dealers. In emails from June of last year, Rex Maralit asked a South Carolina dealer about a special operations combat assault rifle known as a SCAR and tried to negotiate the price with his police credentials.
"do you have a scar 17 FDE in stock available to ship? please advise asap tnx," Rex Maralit allegedly said in an email.
"One other question do you give discounts to LEO, I am an active PO with the NYPD, please advise," he also allegedly said.
The kinds of assault weapons the brothers are accused of buying here and selling overseas are capable of penetrating body armor, brick walls and airplanes.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said, "...rather than upholding and enforcing the law as they had sworn to do, these defendants made international gun running a family business. The brothers used their knowledge of the law to circumvent it, and sent dangerous weapons overseas without regard for the ultimate destination or targets."
Rex Maralit appeared in federal court briefly and is being kept behind bars. His defense will ask for bail next week.
If convicted, the brothers could face up to 20 years in prison.