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Two US Soldiers Allegedly Tried To Sell Guns And Explosives To Be Sent To Mexico

The two soldiers served in the army’s elite EOD unit, which is responsible for disarming explosives and weapons of mass destruction.

Last updated on March 4, 2019, at 10:51 a.m. ET

Posted on February 28, 2019, at 3:06 p.m. ET

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Tyler Sumlin

Two US Army soldiers are facing charges for allegedly trying to sell multiple guns, C-4 explosives, and detonators that they knew would be sent to Mexico.

Tyler Sumlin and Jason Jarvis are charged with eight felony counts, including conspiracy to smuggle goods from the US, transferring firearms to an out-of-state resident, and transporting explosive materials without a license, according to their indictment in a Texas federal court. (The indictment was filed in December, but was not previously reported on until Thursday.)

Sumlin and Jarvis “had access to explosives and explosive devices” because of their military duty, the indictment said.

Sumlin, 30 was an explosive ordnance disposal specialist in the Army from June 2007 to Dec. 2017, a spokesperson for the US army told BuzzFeed News. He attained the rank of sergeant and was deployed to Afghanistan from June 2009 to June 2010 and from June 2011 to June 2012.

Jarvis — who has been in army since 2000 — is currently serving as an explosive ordnance disposal specialist and has been deployed to Afghanistan multiple times from 2006 to 2015, the spokesperson said, declining to comment on the case "due to the ongoing legal proceedings."

The Oscar-winning movie The Hurt Locker explored the lives of EOD soldiers, who are trained in detecting and deactivating explosives and weapons of mass destruction.

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Tyler Sumlin

According to the criminal complaint, Jarvis rented a Chevrolet Tahoe in North Carolina in November and loaded the vehicle with firearms, explosives, and other military-type items. He then drove to Inverness, Florida, to meet Sumlin.

At Sumlin’s house in Florida, the two men combined their share of explosives and firearms, wiped them clean of fingerprints, and put them in storage containers that were loaded onto the Tahoe.

The pair then drove from Florida to El Paso, Texas, where on Nov. 14, they met undercover agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) at a local truck stop in El Paso. They followed the agents to a warehouse where they intended to sell their arsenal of weapons — including multiple firearms, military-grade equipment, and C4 plastic explosives — for $75,000, the complaint said.

Instead, they were arrested and taken to the HSI office where they agreed to be interviewed without their attorneys present.

The two men told agents said they had coordinated the sale of multiple firearms with a buyer in El Paso.

Sumlin told agents that he was aware that the firearms were to be exported to Mexico, according to the complaint.

He said he was going to earn $12,000 from the sale, while Jarvis told authorities he was expecting to earn $2,000 for his participation in the transaction.

Authorities also recovered 32 rifles and three handguns in their truck. Neither of the men had a federal firearms license, the complaint said.

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Sumlin

In a Facebook post Saturday, Sumlin said that he had been arrested in November “for doing somethings I shouldn’t had been doing.”

He said that he expected to be sentenced in three months and that his lawyer told him he was going to prison for five to seven years.

“I really messed up my future along with the future of anyone who is remotely effected [sic] by my life,” he said. “I’m not looking for anyone’s pity. I did the crime now I’m gonna do the time.”

An attorney for Jarvis declined to comment. Sumlin's attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

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