Fil-Am mother and son charged with smuggling gun parts

A Filipino-American woman from Long Beach, California and her son have been charged with smuggling ammunition and firearm parts to the Philippines.

Marlou Mendoza, 60, was arrested last week at Los Angeles International Airport upon returning from a trip to the Philippines, officials from the US Attorney’s Office said Wednesday, Jan. 27.

Her 30-year-old son, Mark Mendoza, remains at large and is believed to be in the Philippines, Inquirer reported. Prosecutors say he operated a business called Last Resort Armaments, according to The Associated Press (AP).

The mother and son were indicted on separate charges by a federal grand jury last month.

In 2011, the mother and son attempted to smuggle hundreds of thousands of ammunition rounds and parts for assault rifles to the Philippines, authorities said. The indictment cited three instances when Mendoza did not provide the mandatory written notice to freight forwarders that she was shipping ammunition, labeling shipments of .22-caliber ammunition as “household goods,” Inquirer reported.

“The weapons shipments charged in the indictments allowed firearm parts and ammunition to leave the United States and travel tot he Philippines, where they could have been sold to anyone,” US Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in a statement.

Mark Mendoza was charged with conspiracy, three counts of unlawful export of munitions, three counts of export smuggling and one count of money laundering.

The publication further reported that he ordered more than $100,000 worth of ammunition and firearm accessories, including parts for AR-15 and M-16 rifles, which are cannot be shipped to the Philippines without an export license from the Department of State, according to the Arms Export Control Act. Mark had the ammunition delivered to his parents’ home in Long Beach.

His mother was released on a $10,000 bail bond pending trial. If found guilty, she faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison.

If Mark is convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 115 years in federal prison.

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