By Adrianna Iwasinski, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A former Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics agent charged in a Mexican firearms smuggling scheme has pleaded guilty to federal charges.
Twenty-nine-year-old Frank Reyes appeared Wednesday in federal court and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of transferring firearms. Each felony charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison and a $50,000 fine.
Reyes also waived his right to a jury trial and said he was not coerced to plead guilty.
Reyes testified he met with Gregorio Morales-Martinez, an illegal alien living in the Dallas area who wanted Reyes to purchase military-style weapons at Oklahoma gun stores. Reyes testified that Morales-Martinez asked him to buy rifles and provided him cash.
Reyes admitted he agreed to purchase the firearms, knowing it was illegal. He also said he lied on purchase papers.
Reyes told the court that he was unaware that Morales-Martinez was an illegal alien.
Reyes testified that he got other people to buy firearms, including the June 8 purchase of two guns from an Oklahoma City gun store and a June 9 purchase from a store in Woodward. Reyes said he met Morales-Martinez in Purcell to give him the weapons.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was tracking the guns. Agents said they believed the ultimate goal was to smuggle the guns into Mexico, possibly into the hands of dangerous drug cartels. Federal prosecutors said they traced at least one weapon seized in Mexico back to Reyes.
"We all know about the significant violence of our neighbors to the south. A lot of that is being fueled by firearms that are purchased in the United States and trafficked to Mexico," said U.S. Attorney Sanford Coats.
Reyes, Morales-Martinez and Jorge Alexis Blanco, were arrested and charged in the smuggling scheme. Another person suspected, Kyle Wooten, has since died.
"These individuals went in, lied on those forms because they knew the firearm wasn't for them. They knew it was for Mr. Reyes," Coats said.
Reyes was allowed to remain free on bond until his sentencing.
In the plea agreement, prosecutors said they will not prosecute further incidents against Reyes related to the case since he is accepting his responsibility.
"Mr. Reyes was a sworn peace officer. Swore to uphold the law and protect the citizens of the Western District and the state of Oklahoma. It's very disappointing when we learn that someone has breached that trust," Coats said.
Reyes also waived his appeal right and also testified he will not challenge the sentence.
Reyes is expected be sentenced in December or January.