Md. Soldier Arrested For Illegal Sale Of Automatic Firearms Obtained In Iraq - Southern Maryland Headline News

Md. Soldier Arrested For Illegal Sale Of Automatic Firearms Obtained In Iraq

GREENBELT, Md. - Leonard Stephan Lockley, age 26, of Bowie, Maryland, was arrested yesterday on charges of receiving, possessing, and selling machine guns that he secreted out of Iraq while deployed as an Army soldier near Baghdad, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. The criminal complaint was filed on March 12, 2007 and unsealed today.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein stated, "Whenever we catch a criminal using a gun, we ask ATF to trace the gun to the source. We must stop the flow of illegal guns to criminals."

According to court documents, in October 2003 a witness observed Lockley placing the component parts of four AK-47-style rifles into a large black metal chest containing a false bottom. At the time, Lockley was deployed near Baghdad, Iraq under orders from the U.S. Army. Lockley told the witness that he had the chest with the false bottom made and was using it to send the AK-47's to the United States. In mid- to late-2003, a second witness also observed Lockley in possession of at least four firearms, which the second witness described as AK-47 style rifles and a machine gun. Lockley told this second witness that he purchased the firearms from an Iraqi and planned to send them back to the United States in a box with a false bottom, which he showed to the witness.

Lockley was redeployed to the United States in February 2004. In March, Omar Holmes received a telephone call from a person who stated that he knew someone who had fully automatic “AKs” for sale. The caller gave the phone to a second person whom Holmes recognized as a childhood friend, Lockley. Lockley and Holmes agreed on a purchase price of $6,000 for five firearms. They met at a predetermined location in Prince George’s County where Lockley removed a large, green “Army-type” bag from the trunk and showed Holmes four firearms. They then went to a warehouse area located on Frohlich Lane in Hyattsville, Maryland and test-fired at least two of the weapons in fully automatic mode. Holmes and others gave Lockley $4,000 or $5,000 for the four firearms. These weapons were later used in a series of bank robberies in the Washington metropolitan area. Holmes has since pled guilty to charges related to those bank robberies. Lockley has not been charged for those offenses.

On July 16, 2004, FBI and ATF agents investigating a bank robbery recovered a German model AKM 7.62x39mm rifle, Romanian model AIM rifle, a Saudi Arabian model AK-47 rifle and a Chinese model AK-47, all of which functioned in the semi-automatic and fully automatic modes. Further investigation connected cartridge casings recovered from Frohlich Lane in Hyattsville to these firearms, which were not legally registered to any person. The witnesses identified photographs of the firearms as the ones they saw in Lockley’s possession in Iraq in 2003, and the individual identified them as being the firearms he had bought from Lockley.

Lockley faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release for receiving an unlawfully imported firearm; 10 years in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release for illegally possessing a machine gun; and 10 years in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release for illegally transferring an unregistered firearm. Lockley had his initial appearance in U.S. District Court today.

A complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Army Criminal Investigative Division, and other federal agencies. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacy Belf, who is prosecuting the case.

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