ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico man pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating the federal firearms laws and making false representations about having received military medals and decorations.
Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated this case.
According to court filings, Anthony Lee Gambino, 44, from Farmington, New Mexico, was the owner and operator of Gambino Security Safety Corp., a security company based in Aztec, New Mexico. An investigation revealed he was producing commercial videos and photos for his company advertising different types of tactical and firearms training that depicted Gambino armed with a rifle, holstered side arms and handguns.
Gambino also represented to a prospective vendor of his commercial tactical services that he was a combat veteran who had earned medals and ribbons including the Purple Heart. Court filings indicate that Gambino fraudulently enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps which resulted in his discharge. There are no records indicating that Gambino was awarded the Purple Heart or the Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbon.
Gambino was arrested in May 2016, on a criminal complaint charging him with being a felon possessing firearms, and making false representations about receiving military medals and decorations. He was indicted on the same charges May 25, 2016. According to the indictment, Gambino was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted on felony charges of commercial burglary, failure to appear, and menacing involving a deadly weapon. Gambino committed these crimes May 12, 2016, in San Juan County, New Mexico.
During this week’s court proceedings, Gambino pleaded guilty to the indictment and admitted that on May 12, 2016, he possessed six firearms and multiple rounds of ammunition; his status as a convicted felon prohibits him from possessing firearms or ammunition. Gambino also admitted that he fraudulently held himself out to be a recipient of a Purple Heart and a Combat Action Ribbon with intent to obtain money, property or other tangible benefit. At sentencing, Gambino faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.
The San Juan County (New Mexico) Sheriff’s Office assisted with this investigation.