Felons indicted for selling .50-cals to undercover agents

A pair of felons were indicted for gun possession after they sold two .50-caliber rifles to undercover officers, the Justice Department said.

Orlando Rangel, 31, and George Boone, 38, both of Modesto, were indicted by a federal grand jury in the eastern district of California on Dec. 31. Rangel was also charged with possession of a stolen firearm.

If convicted, both men face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. According to court filings, Boone appeared in court on Jan. 6.

According to court documents, on Nov. 20, an informant told a federal agent that he knew two men, Rangel and Boone, who were trying to sell a .50-caliber sniper rifle for $3,500, so the agent had the informant arrange a meeting with the men.

Later that evening, federal agents staked out the home as the informant met the pair to see the rifle. During the meeting, the informant texted the agent a picture of himself posing with the rifle. However, the informant did not buy the rifle.

A few hours later, about half past midnight, the Modesto Police Department stopped Rangel in his car. When asked if he had weapons in his car, Rangel said, “Officer, you know the question you asked me about the weapons, I have this thing, it’s a metal piece under my seat. I don’t know if it’s a weapon.”

Officers then searched the car and found the bolt to a .50-caliber rifle and an EO Tech red-dot scope. Rangel told officers that he found the items while “dumpster diving.” The police released him with a warning but took the items.

On Nov. 25, an undercover agent, officer and the informant arranged a meeting with Boone to buy a rifle. After parking his car, Boone brought a rifle case inside the garage where the men were standing.

As the group made small talk, the informant opened the case, revealing a Desert Tactical .50-caliber rifle. The agent picked up the gun, but Boone stopped him. “Can you not do that?” he asked.

The agent told Boone that he wanted to see the rifle before he bought it, put it back in its case, and asked how much.

“The agreement was for four,” Boone said, referring to $4,000.

As the agent paid, the officer asked about ammo and other rifles, and Boone told them he had 2,000 rounds at another location and another rifle that was bigger and can strap to a tank.

Less than a month later, on Dec. 16, the undercover agent, officer and an informant met with Rangel to buy the other .50-cal rifle.

After they paid him $15,000 for the weapon, a Karma Metal Products .50 caliber rifle, which looks like a Browning .50-cal machine gun, the agent asked Rangel how quick he could come up with more firearms. Rangel told him that he knew a guy who could get some AR rifles, and another guy who could get some claymore mines and night vision goggles.

Roughly 10 minutes after the buy, Modesto police pulled over Rangel’s car and arrested him. They asked him about the $15,000 and he told them he won it playing Yahtzee. However, he eventually admitted to the sale and stealing the rifles in November from a man he used to know. He said he tried to re-establish contact with the man — they had lost touch because of a dispute over a woman — and when he did, he noticed the two rifles and stole them.

The man who owned the rifles had reported a burglary to Modesto police on Dec. 13, and stated that five firearms had been stolen. Authorities identified two of the guns as the rifles bought during the undercover operation.

Rangel’s criminal record dates back to 2005 and shows seven violations, including receiving stolen property, vehicle theft, evading a peace officer, and second degree burglary, court documents say.

Boone’s criminal record, which dates back to 2010, shows one violation of second degree burglary, court documents say.