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Former Marines Arrested for Selling Weapons to Gang Members

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Two former Marines, and three other local men, have been arrested following a lengthy investigation for allegedly selling assault rifles to known Los Angeles gang members, according to LA Now.

Authorities have released the names of the suspects; former Marines Jose Smith Pacheco, 31, of Montebello, and Miguel A. Ortiz, 49, of Northridge, along with "Edwin Cano, 33, of Northridge, and Christopher John Thomas, 32, of Van Nuys, were arrested Monday. The group's alleged ringleader and another former Marine, Adam Gitschlag, 28, was taken in on November 2, reports the Star-News.

All five men "are charged with five counts each of having unlawful assault weapons, including four AK-47 assault rifles and an AR-15 assault weapon."

"One of the buyers allegedly was connected to the Florencia 13 gang," notes USA Today, referring to a June 23 deal that happened in the parking lot of Pasadena post office parking lot, which involved an informant who helped the ATF with the case.

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Gitschlag told The Associated Press the charges are "definitely untrue," and that he is "a private weapons collector who loves his country."