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'Wayward' Navy SEAL sentenced for firearm charges in California

Sacramento residents might be interested to learn a bit about a recent case involving a former U.S. Navy SEAL. A federal jury recently found the man guilty of 13 federal weapons charges, including conspiracy and arms trafficking charges.

The veteran turned himself into authorities just before the beginning of this year. He was living in San Diego at the time. Shortly before turning himself in, the man was discharged from the military. He served eight years in the Navy, which included two deployments to Iraq.

The charges stem from an investigation into federal weapons trafficking. Federal agents uncovered a sniper rifle, assault rifles, M92 submachine guns and military-grade handguns. The weapons were allegedly seized from three separate locations: the man's apartment, in a nearby storage unit the man leased and at an out-of-state location.

In addition to the weapons, federal agents also found nearly five pounds of military explosives at the home of one of the man's friends. The prosecutor alleges that the motive behind the weapons trafficking was profit, but the defense insisted the man was just caught up in a much larger scheme. The judge went along with the prosecutor's concern over the possibility that fully automatic weapons could have ended up in the hands of criminals.

The court sentenced the former SEAL to nearly 18 years in prison for the federal firearms offenses. According to the court the weapons were smuggled into the U.S. from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

During the course of the trial, the accused veteran's attorney pointed out that the man gave a lot for his country, including his mental health. It's not uncommon for military veterans to return from service with anxiety issues or some other mental illness. Sometimes, these conditions could provide an explanation for alleged behavior.

Sentencing is a very important part of the criminal proceeding. Even though a verdict has already been reached, everyone on trial deserves to be treated fairly, including during sentencing. This is why judges must take a variety of factors into account when handing down a punishment. An experienced legal advocate can help to make sure a sentence matches the magnitude of and circumstances behind a suspected criminal incident.

Source: The Washington Post, "Ex-Navy SEAL gets nearly 18 years in prison in federal weapons conspiracy case in Las Vegas," July 17, 2012

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