Fil-Am brothers sentenced to 3 years for gun trafficking

Lenn Almadin Thornhill
Fil-Am brothers sentenced to 3 years for gun trafficking
The brothers admit to selling military-style firearms, along with high-capacity magazines and weapons from the US to the Philippines

NEW YORK CITY, USA –  “I should have known better.” A tearful Rex Maralit, 46, reportedly said during his sentencing hearing on Friday, March 27, before United States Eastern District of New York Judge Allyne Ross. 

Rex, a former New York Police Department officer, and his brother, Wilfredo Maralit, 49, a Customs and Border Protection Officer assigned to Los Angeles International Airport for 9 years, were sentenced to 3 years in prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.  

The Maralit brothers pleaded guilty on June 12, 2014, on violating the Arms Export Control Act. They admitted to selling military-style firearms, along with high-capacity magazines and weapons accessories, from the US to the Philippines from 2009 to 2013. (READ: 3 accused in US-Philippine gun running conspiracy

According to Federal Prosecutors, the Maralit brothers bought weapons through US based dealers and sent them to their brother, Ariel, who found gun buyers in the Philippines.

44-year-old Ariel lives in the Philippines and is considered a fugitive, according to Brooklyn US Attorney’s office.

Federal officers claim that in some cases, the Maralit brothers used their law enforcement credentials to obtain the high powered weapons, which included armor-piercing rifles and other assault weapons.

“Rather than upholding and enforcing the law as they had sworn to do,” US Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement when the Maralits were arrested in September 2013, “the brothers used their knowledge of the law to circumvent it, and sent dangerous weapons overseas without regard for the ultimate destination or targets.”

It is unclear when the investigations into the brothers actions began but according to an affidavit filed in support of their arrests, Special Agent Steven Goodman of the Homeland Security Investigations had been involved in case since February 2013.  

“I promise not to repeat my disgraceful conduct,” Rex reportedly said at his sentencing. He also said he became involved in the gun trade to make extra money for his family, and he planned to make the business legitimate.

A father of 3 from Lawrenceville, NJ, Rex was a police officer for 11 years and was fired from the NYPD when he pleaded guilty last year.

His brother Wilfredo reportedly asked for leniency since he did the least among his brothers.  

The brothers faced up to 5 years in prison for each charge, along with a fine of up to $250,000, according to prosecutors. But Judge Ross reportedly took into consideration the brothers’ genuine remorse and the fact that they had no previous criminal records.  

The Maralit brothers will start serving their sentences in May.  They may, however, still appeal their sentence. – 

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