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Counter Proliferation Investigation Unit
04/07/2016

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Massachusetts man pleads guilty to illegally exporting assault rifle, pistol parts

BOSTON – A Boston-area man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Worcester Wednesday in connection with illegally shipping hundreds of firearm parts to people in 22 countries. The admission of guilt follows a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General, Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement, along with substantial assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

David L. Maricola, 60, of Southbridge, pleaded guilty to a 32-count indictment charging him with conspiracy, illegally exporting defense articles, making false statements on customs forms, and money laundering. Maricola shipped the parts to countries including France, Finland, Indonesia, New Zealand, Thailand, Spain, Australia, and Germany. 

According to court documents, in 2015, Maricola and Arto Laatikanien, a 32-year old Finnish citizen, were indicted in connection with illegally exporting hundreds of assault rifle and firearm components, including parts for M16, M4, AR-15 assault rifles, Glock pistols, and UZI submachine guns. Between November 2010 and March 2012, Maricola shipped more than $100,000 worth of firearm components to Laatikainen in Finland though the U.S. Postal Service.After receiving the parts, Laatikainen sold them to criminal organizations in Finland, including the Cannonballs Outlaw Motorcycle Gang.

At the hearing, Maricola admitted to illegally exporting and conspiring to illegally export hundreds of firearm parts overseas using the Postal Service, lying on customs declaration forms about the contents and value of the articles he was sending, and money laundering.   Maricola acknowledged that he had obtained many of the parts he illegally exported overseas from Gunbroker.com, an auction type website, and instructed his customers to send money to him using Paypal.  Additionally, Maricola admitted that he repeatedly falsely described gun parts on customs forms as merely being “AIRSOFT” or replica firearms rather than being for actual, lethal guns.  On numerous occasions, Maricola also falsely described AR-15 assault rifles parts as “aluminum sculptures.”  

Laatikanien remains in Finland as Finland does not extradite its own nationals. 

The charges of illegally exporting defense articles and money laundering each provide for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison.  The charges of conspiracy and making false statements each provide for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison.  In addition, the charge of illegally exporting defense articles provides for no greater than three years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million on each count.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.  

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 04/11/2016