Brazilian man pleads guilty to gun trafficking in U.S. court

A Brazilian man pled guilty to making false statements in a firearm sales record on July 9 and now faces up to five years in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida announced.

According to statements made in open court and documents filed in the case, 50-year-old Sergio Carvalho, formerly of Boca Raton and Brazil, collaborated with a network of people, including a federally licensed firearms dealer, in buying guns, tampering with sales records and then exporting guns to Brazil.

On March 30, 2011, Carvalho and his colleague Moizes Maia Nogueira, 44, bought 12 semi-auto rifles from an FFL holder named Vincent Olavarria, Jr., 48, in Port St. Lucie and asked that Olavarria conceal their names from the sales records and replace them with other straw purchasers, which he agreed.

Carvalho and Nogueira resold and delivered rifles to Vicente de Paula Vieira, and his son Marcos Barbosa Vieira, two Brazilians who were exporting firearms illegally from the United States to Brazil.

Olavarria recruited other straw purchasers to lend their names to false sales records concealing the actual destination of the rifles.

However, the agents from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives flagged the sales records because of the discrepancies in April 2011 and that led agents to Carvalho.

Carvalho lied to the ATF, denying knowledge of the rifles and did not volunteer the existence or involvement of Nogueira or the father and son team of the Vieiras, and their respective exports of firearms to Brazil.

In September 2012, all of the defendants charged pled guilty to their charges following a federal Grand Jury indictment.

In June 2013, Olavarria was sentenced to 34 months in prison, and Nogueira was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

Straw buyer Darren Cuff, 26, was sentenced in June 2013 to 21 months in prison, and in September 2013, straw buyer Anthony Olavarria, 49, was sentenced to five months in prison.

Both Vicente de Paula Vieira and Marcos Barbosa Vieira have been arrested in Brazil by the Brazilian Federal Police and charged with crimes of firearms importation under Brazilian law.

While serving arrest warrants, the U.S. Marshals Service sought and found Carvalho on April 30 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and returned him to Fort Pierce to face the pending charges. He is scheduled for sentencing in front of a U.S. District judge on Sept. 18.