A U.S. Army soldier charged with participating in a scheme to illegally buy guns in New Hampshire and Texas and then smuggle them to Indonesia has pleaded guilty.
Audi N. Sumilat, 36, of El Paso, Texas, pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to make false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The smuggled guns were intended for use by members of the protective security detail of the Indonesian president and vice president.
According to statements made during the plea hearing, Sumilat joined a conspiracy to buy guns in New Hampshire and Texas for members of the Indonesian Presidential Guard with the understanding that they would be smuggled out of the U.S.
Sumilat - who was on active duty with the U.S. Army - admitted that he and three members of the Indonesian Presidential Guard came up with the plan in October of 2014, when they were stationed together for training in Fort Benning, Georgia. He also admitted that in September of 2015, he purchased guns in Texas for members of the Indonesian Presidential Guard that they could not lawfully buy in the U.S. themselves.
To facilitate the purchases, Sumilat told the gun dealers that he was the actual buyer. He then shipped the guns to a co-conspirator in New Hampshire who delivered them and other firearms to members and representatives of the Indonesian Presidential Guard who were in the U.S. on official state visits both in Washington, D.C., and with the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The members of the Indonesian Presidential Guard then smuggled the illegally purchased guns from the U.S. to Indonesia.
“The consequences of international gun trafficking can be grave," U.S. Attorney Emily Gray Rice said in a statement. "Firearms exported overseas illegally can easily end up in the wrong hands. International gun trafficking will be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible to protect innocent individuals, both American and foreign, from the criminal use of U.S. weapons abroad."
Sumilat is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 11. He faces a maximum sentence of five years and a fine of $250,000.
One of Sumilat's co-conspirators - Feky R. Sumual - has also been charged and is scheduled for trial on July 19.