A Houston couple scored at least a dozen full auto M16s last week after purchasing surplus gun cases online from a vendor that works directly with the Department of Defense.
Worried that they may be in violation of federal law that prohibits possession of unregistered machine guns, the couple immediately contacted authorities to report their find.
“We just purchased these cases. We never expected anything in there,” the husband, who did not want to be identified told ABC 13. “Supposedly, the sender should check every single box to make sure there’s nothing dangerous or anything.”
“It’s just a case, everybody can buy it online,” the wife added.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) immediately obtained a warrant and raided the storage facility where the couple had stored the cases. All of the firearms were seized.
The wife and husband fully cooperated with the probe.
Greg Fremin, a former Houston police captain and retried Marine, commented on the situation.
“It’s incredible. It’s surreal,” he told ABC13. “It’s unbelievable to think military-grade weapons would be shipped in containers across state lines. It’s pretty shocking.”
“One of the strictest things we have in the military is weapons accountability. So these weapons are missing somewhere from a U.S. armory, and somebody doesn’t know it. That’s the scary thing about that for the U.S. military right now,” he continued.
It seems unlikely that the couple will face any charges.
“We are good citizens,” the wife said.
As for who will ultimately be held accountable for the oversight, the FBI is currently investigating.
The online vendor who sold the cases was quick to pull down the existing inventory of similar products and is now conducting an internal audit.
A representative of the company told ABC13 that while it’s contracted to sell surplus military equipment, that doesn’t include firearms.
It appears the armorers at the DoD have some explaining to do.
Stay tuned for updates.