Three Fort Irwin Soldiers have been sent to military prison after three general courts- martial found them guilty of conspiracy and theft of military firearms.
Private first class Harvey DelValle II, Spc. Bladimir Rodriguez and Sgt. John Rodriguez have been transferred to the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. DelValle was convicted April 24 and sentenced to 12 years. Rodriguez (Spc.) was convicted Feb. 6 and given six years. Rodriguez (Sgt.) was convicted March 29 and is looking at 20 years of incarceration. They were also reduced to the grade of E-1 and given a bad conduct discharge from the Army.
The three Soldiers had been assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, United States Army Garrison at Fort Irwin, where they had been serving as military police. In July 2011, they conspired to break into building 934 on Fort Irwin. They eventually stole 26 AK-74 assault rifles and a sniper rifle. They then sold the weapons to civilian criminal elements in Fresno, Calif.
DellValle and Rodriguez (Sgt.) were also convicted of additional crimes committed prior to the theft of the weapons. The weapons theft investigation uncovered that Rodriguez (Sgt.) brought marijuana to Fort Irwin and both Soldiers had been selling it to teenagers in the community. It was also discovered that they had broken into and burglarized vehicles held in the Fort Irwin impound lot. Approximately two dozen vehicles had been targeted.
The investigation that ultimately led to the convictions and sentencing was conducted by the Fort Irwin Criminal Investigation Division, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A Department of Justice press release from April 24 states that an additional 13 individuals have been charged with crimes stemming from the theft of the firearms. Those civilian cases are being processed by the United States Attorneyâ€™s Office in the Eastern District of California, which is located in Fresno. Charges in those cases include the unauthorized sale of government property, possession of stolen machine guns, possession of a sawed-off shotgun, and making false statements.
The DOJ press release indicated that three of the civilian defendants have already received sentences ranging from two years and four months to four years. The latest defendant to plead guilty is facing as much as 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for possessing a machine gun.