Former Customs and Border Protection Officer Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges for Running Illegal Firearms Business, Tax Evasion

            Wei Xu, 56, a former U.S. Customs and Border Protection watch commander at the Long Beach Seaport pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges for running an illegal gun-selling business, unlawfully possessing more than 40 machine guns and other prohibited firearms, failing to disclose his foreign financial interests and contacts in China in order to obtain a secret-level security clearance, and cheating on his federal income taxes. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in federal prison. 

            Xu sold at least 99 firearms without the required federal license between the late 1990s and his arrest. To increase the profit margin of his unlawful firearms selling business, Xu exploited his status as a law enforcement officer to purchase and then transfer “off-roster” handguns that cannot be sold to the general public by a federal firearms license (FFL) dealer.  Xu also sold or transferred firearms within days or weeks from the date he purchased them and operated several accounts on Internet marketplaces to advertise his firearm business. 

In July and August 2018, Xu sold four firearms to an undercover agent posing as a buyer, and Xu unlawfully sold three of the firearms out of the trunk of his car. The firearms included an “off-roster” pistol, high-capacity magazines, and a short-barreled rifle.  The ATF also found more than 250 firearms, including 41 fully-automatic firearms or machineguns and two additional short-barreled rifles – all unregistered. 

Xu also made materially false statements on three questionnaires submitted to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to obtain a secret-level security clearance. Specifically, Xu maintained foreign financial interests and had nearly weekly contacts with his business associates in China as part of his employment as an accounts manager for a China-based auto parts import company. Xu collected a commission for his work and remitted the profit to his China-based business partners. But on his security clearance questionnaires in 2003, 2011 and 2015, Xu falsely denied maintaining close and continuing contacts with foreign nationals, denied having a foreign financial interest, and denied having a business venture with a foreign national.

Finally, Xu admitted in his plea agreement that he willfully evaded the payment federal income tax from 2005 to 2017 by setting up Trans Pacific Group, Inc. Xu used this Florida-incorporated sham company as a means to claim fictional ordinary business losses to offset his ordinary income and fraudulently evade tax due to the Internal Revenue Service.

BIG MISTAKE TO SELL TO AN UNDERCOVER OFFICER

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