Marlou Mendoza, 60, is scheduled to enter her plea in Los Angeles on Monday to a federal charge of failing to provide the required written notice to freight forwarders that she was shipping ammunition, court papers show.
The indictment, filed in December, cites three instances in 2011 when Mendoza allegedly shipped tens of thousands of rounds of .22-caliber ammunition and bullets.
Her son, Mark Louie Mendoza, is named in a separate eight-count indictment that charges him with conspiracy, the unlawful export of munitions, smuggling and money laundering.
The 30-year-old man remains at large and is believed to be in the Philippines, federal prosecutors said. His mother was arrested last month at Los Angeles International Airport as she returned from a trip to the Philippines.
Mark Mendoza, who was president of a “tools and equipment” company known as Last Resort Armaments, allegedly ordered more than $100,000 worth of ammunition and firearms accessories, much of which was delivered to his mother’s Long Beach home over a six-month period in 2011, according to federal prosecutors.
Those items included parts for M-16 and AR-15-type rifles, listed as defense articles on the U.S. Munitions List, authorities said.
Pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act, items on the Munitions List may not be shipped to the Philippines without an export license issued by the Department of State.
The money laundering charge against Mark Mendoza alleges that during the first six months of 2011, he transferred more than $650,000 in proceeds generated by the illegal ammunition exports from an account in the Philippines to a money remitter in Los Angeles.
“The Arms Export Control Act is designed to keep weapons out of the hands of people who may act against the interests of the United States,” Eileen M. Decker, the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, said previously.
“The weapons shipments charged in the indictments allowed firearm parts and ammunition to leave the United States and travel to the Philippines, where they could have been sold to anyone,” she said. “Controlling the trafficking of weapons abroad is critical to protecting American interests abroad.”
–City News Service
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