SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Army recruiter Sgt. Julian Prezas, who faces a disciplinary discharge, has admitted to attempting to sell dozens of assault rifles to Mexico's Gulf Cartel, a court document confirms.
Prezas, 36, pleaded guilty in two separate cases on Monday to five counts of lying on federal firearms forms and attempting to export defense articles to Mexico. He faces up to 10 years in prison for the charges of lying and up to 20 years in prison for attempted exportation of the firearms.
U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia will sentence Prezas on March 23. Prezas admitted to acquiring 42 guns but a co-defendant who turned into an informant for agents working with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Prezas sold him up to 74 weapons, including AR-15s and AK-47s.
"It is, therefore, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge that the guilty plea be acceptted and that a judgment of guilt be entered against the defendant," Judge Henry J. Bemporad wrote in a court document.
During an investigation, ATF agents used a confidential informant to buy weaopons from Prezas in August 2015. The informant told Prezas the weapons would be smuggled into Mexico for the Gulf Cartel. In the plea agreement, Prezas said he and three other U.S. servicemen bought at least 42 guns to smuggle.
Federal officers arrested Prezas in September 2015 while he carried 17 guns he was selling to the ATF informant. Prezas' co-defendants each face up to 10 years in prison.