The San Francisco Chronicle reported that a third co-defendant in the weapons smuggling charges involving a Navy SEAL has entered a plea of guilty, in a court in Nevada.
Richard Paul of Durango, Colorado, pleaded guilty to charges of selling smuggled weapons. His sentencing has been set for April 15, by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Roger Hunt. He could face up to 15 years in prison, and $500,000 in fines.
According to reports by federal agents, five pounds of C-4 military explosives were found in Paul’s home in Colorado. He was arrested last November 4.
Last month, Andrew Kauffman and Omar Aguirre, also pleaded guilty to the charges against them. Kauffman pleaded guilty to conspiracy and illegal transfer of machine guns, while Aguirre pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges. Kauffman, Aguirre, and Paul have all agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and testify against Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Nicholas Bickle.
With Paul’s guilty plea, Bickle is the only remaining defendant who entered a plea of not guilty, and will be facing trial on charges of federal conspiracy and weapons charges.
According to the report, Paul acknowledged the truth of facts in a document that contained the allegations against them. He and his lawyer, federal public defender Shari Kaufman, did not give comments after the hearing.
Bickle has been described by federal prosecutor Drew Smith as the “mastermind” and “chief weapons smuggler,” while Paul was described as the “primary seller” of the operation. Prosecutors allege that Bickle was able to smuggle the weapons because Navy SEALs are not searched when they return from deployment.