A Long Beach woman was sentenced Thursday to six months of home confinement for illegally shipping hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of firearms parts and ammunition to her native Philippines.
Marlou Mendoza, 62, pleaded guilty in February to federal charges of failing to provide the required written notice to freight forwarders that she was shipping ammunition.
Federal prosecutors argued that Mendoza should receive an 18-month prison term, but U.S. District Judge George Wu sentenced her to probation, including home confinement.
An indictment, filed in December, cites three instances in 2011 when Mendoza shipped tens of thousands of rounds of .22-caliber ammunition and bullets to her son.
Defense attorney Andre Townsend wrote in court papers that his client was merely engaging in the “cultural practice of sending her son Balikbayan boxes (care packages) full of goods and products from which he and their Filipino community could benefit.”
The son, Mark Louie Mendoza, is named in a separate eight-count indictment, filed in Los Angeles federal court, that charges him with conspiracy, the unlawful export of munitions, smuggling and money laundering.
The 31-year-old man remains at large and is believed to be in the Philippines, federal prosecutors said. His mother was arrested in January 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 an account in Los Angeles.
—City News Service
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