South Florida Resident Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Selling Firearms to a Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization

Francisco Joseph Arcila Ramirez (Arcila), a Colombian national and South Florida resident was sentenced to 240 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez for illegally selling firearms to the National Liberation Army (ELN), a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization and a violent paramilitary group operating in South America.

John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI’s Miami Field Office, Diane J. Sabatino, Director, Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Miami Field Office, Robert Cekada, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Office, and Anthony Salisbury, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office made the announcement.

On Oct. 17, 2019, Arcila pleaded guilty to providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

According to court records, on Aug. 16, 2018, Arcila instructed two co-conspirators to illegally purchase six firearms in Miami-Dade County on Arcila’s behalf.  These firearms included four Draco 7.62mm caliber AK-style pistols and two Zastava M92 7.62mm AK-style pistols. The firearms were then concealed in Husky air-compressors purchased by Arcila at a Miami-area Home Depot and shipped to Barranquilla, Colombia.  This shipment also contained approximately one hundred AK-47 ammunition magazines. 

On Sept. 5, 2018, Arcila attended a meeting in Colombia, where he met with an ELN weapons broker to discuss the sale of the six firearms Arcila had recently shipped into Colombia.  In addition to agreeing to the sale of these six firearms, Arcila and the weapons broker further discussed other future sales, to include firearm magazines and firearm components in the coming months.  At the conclusion of this meeting, the weapons broker provided approximately sixty million Colombian pesos as the purchase price for the firearms. 

Assistant Attorney General Demers and U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of FBI, CBP, ATF and ICE-HSI.  This case was prosecuted by Southern District of Florida Assistant U.S. Attorneys Randy A. Hummel and Michael R. Sherwin, and by the Department of Justice’s National Security Division Trial Attorney David Smith.

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Author: January 28, 2020

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