An ex-sailor allegedly bought guns with a military discount, then resold them to criminals

Photo: US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

A former sailor who was busted buying firearms with his military discount and then reselling some of them to criminals is proving to be a wealth of information for federal investigators.

Julio Pino used his iPhone to record most, if not all, of his sales, court documents said. He even went so far as to review the buyers' driver's license on camera.

It is unclear how many of Pino's customer's now face criminal charges of their own. Federal indictments generally don't provide that level of detail and Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Jackson declined to comment.

Court documents filed in the case of Ernest Riley, however, reveal how valuable the videos are to prosecutors. Jackson recounted how Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents interviewed Pino, identified only by the initials J.P., on Sept. 8, 2016, about some recent firearms purchases he'd made. Pino responded that he had bought and sold more than 30 firearms in the past year, and that he had recorded all of the sales and uploaded the videos to the cloud.

The agents then reviewed the videos.

One showed Pino sell a Glock 23 handgun to Riley, who had a previous assault conviction on his record that prevented him from legally buying firearms. The video started with Pino showing Riley's Virginia ID card to the camera before opening a box and displaying a new handgun and serial number.

Pino "hands the firearm to the defendant and asks if the defendant agrees to the gun transaction," Jackson wrote in court documents. "The defendant responds, 'Yes, sir.'"

Pino told investigators he sold the handgun to Riley for $550 in the parking lot of the Bass Pro Shops in Hampton, shortly after buying it at the U.S. Coast Guard Exchange in Chesapeake.

Pino, a petty officer 3rd class who was honorably discharged from the Navy in December, was sentenced earlier this year to 2½ years in prison.

According to court documents, Pino's scheme stretched from Nov. 6, 2015, through January 21, 2017. Despite warnings from federal agents, he illegally engaged in the business of dealing firearms without being a licensed dealer.

Court documents said he resold 23 firearms for profit. Among his customers: a juvenile, a drug-addicted armed robber and a drug dealer who trafficked in stolen firearms, prosecutors said.

Assistant Federal Public Defender Keith Kimball said his client made the videos because he didn't think at the time he was breaking the law.

"He thought that somehow by recording the sales he was being responsible," Kimball said. "He was trying to be on the up and up."


©2019 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)

Visit The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.) at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Andrew Christian Gray (Onslow County Sheriff's Office)

Two people, including a U.S. Marine Corps member, were arrested over the weekend and accused of distributing drugs to service members and civilians in North Carolina.

Read More Show Less

It has been a deadly year for Green Berets, with every active-duty Special Forces Group losing a valued soldier in Afghanistan or Syria.

A total of 12 members of the Army special operations forces community have died in 2019, according to U.S. Army Special Operations Command. All but one of those soldiers were killed in combat.

In Afghanistan, Army special operators account for 10 of the 17 U.S. troops killed so far this year. Eight of the fallen were Green Berets. Of the other two soldiers, one was attached to the 10th Special Forces Group and the other was a Ranger.

Read More Show Less

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Documents from the Pentagon show that "far more taxpayer funds" were spent by the U.S. military on overnight stays at a Trump resort in Scotland than previously known, two Democratic lawmakers said on Wednesday, as they demanded more evidence from the Defense Department as part of their investigation.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the heads of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee and one of it subcommittees said that while initial reports indicated that only one U.S. military crew had stayed at President Donald Trump's Turnberry resort southeast of Glasgow, the Pentagon had now turned over data indicating "more than three dozen separate stays" since Trump moved into the White House.

Read More Show Less
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley from 1979's 'Alien' (20th Century Fox)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

QUANTICO, Va. -- Marines who spend much of their day lifting hefty ammunition or moving pallets full of gear could soon get a helping hand.

The Marine Corps is close to signing a deal to test an exoskeleton prototype that can help a single person move as much as several leathernecks combined.

Read More Show Less
NEC Corp.'s machine with propellers hovers at the company's facility in Abiko near Tokyo, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019. The Japanese electronics maker showed a "flying car," a large drone-like machine with four propellers that hovered steadily for about a minute. (Associated Press/Koji Sasahara

'Agility Prime' sounds like a revolutionary new video streaming service, or a parkour-themed workout regimen, or Transformers-inspired niche porno venture.

But no, it's the name of the Air Force's nascent effort to replace the V-22 Osprey with a militarized flying car — and it's set to take off sooner than you think.

Read More Show Less