NYPD cop, brothers accused of gun-trafficking
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An NYPD officer and two of his brothers were charged in federal court in Brooklyn on Friday with unlicensed international trafficking in high-powered weaponry including combat-style assault rifles and long-range sniper rifles.
Rex Maralit, 44, an officer in the Equal Employment Opportunity office at NYPD headquarters, was charged along with Wilfredo Maralit, 48, a Customs and Border Patrol officer at Los Angeles airport, and Ariel Maralit, 43, who lives in the Philippines.
The brothers allegedly bought weapons from U.S. dealers, sometimes seeking discounts based on their law enforcement ties, and used false descriptions such as "sliding industrial door track" to ship them for distribution to customers in the Philippines.
The weapons, some of which were broken down before shipment, included a .50-caliber semi-automatic rifle officials said was "capable of penetrating body armor, exterior walls of buildings and even aircraft."
The three brothers were charged with conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act and to engage in unlicensed firearms dealing. They face up to five years in prison on each charge.
Rex Maralit, of Lawrenceville, N.J., was held without bail after a brief proceeding in Brooklyn federal court. He did not enter a plea. His lawyer said he hopes to put together a bail package by next week, but prosecutors said they will oppose his pretrial release.
Wilfredo Maralit was to appear in court late Friday in California, where prosecutors said they will seek his transfer to Brooklyn. Ariel Maralit, officials said, is not in custody, but is being sought overseas for extradition to the United States.
"A case like this is disheartening to the entire department," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a statement.