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Mr. Davis. Obviously, in executive session, we would be in position to supply more information as to underlying facts, whichever way they cut, related to the indictment and the affidavit. This information is the evidence leading up to the indictment. We certainly could.
Mr. HUBBARD. Thank you, Mr. Davis.
Mr. O'BRIEN. Mr. Davis, could you explain to us the circumstances surrounding the indictments that came down in Texas regarding the so-called machinegun conspiracy? I refer specifically to an ATF press release that described the indictments under that denomination.
Mr. Davis. That was a conspiracy relating to distribution of 1,000 machineguns. That indictment was recently brought down. I believe that it involves machineguns that might have been going into Mexico.
I am not aware of any connection to these events.
Mr. O'BRIEN. What is the citizenship of the defendants in that case?
Mr. Davis. I am told that to the extent those are not American, they are Mexican.
Mr. O'BRIEN. Mexican citizens?
Mr. O'BRIEN. Could you explain to the committee for the record why Lopez, Edgardo Lopez, would have been beyond the jurisdiction of the United States, had he remained here? I presume that is the case. He could not have been indicted?
Mr. Davis. I am not certain of that. It is not clear if Mr. Lopez would have had diplomatic immunity. It is not clear, we were advised by the State Department, that a Consul has diplomatic immunity.
Mr. O'BRIEN. Is the grand jury still empaneled investigating this matter in general, and subsequent prosecution?
Mr. Davis. The grand jury is still considering this matter, and it might or might not produce indictments. But the grand jury is still receiving additional evidence.
Mr. HUBBARD. Thank you, our excellent counsel.
Mr. BAUMAN. I wonder if we might ask Mr. Davis to stay, and decide whether or not it might be well for Mr. Davis to testify this afternoon in closed session.
I think since we have a number of witnesses tomorrow, this information might be helpful to the committee.
Mr. HUBBARD. Could you, please?
Mr. HUBBARD. We do have Eugene W. Gleason to testify next and as soon as we return from this rollcall, which hopefully will be 10 minutes or less.
The committee stands in recess.
Mr. BAUMAN. Mr. Davis said it would probably be better for the committee's convenience, and his, too, to call him early tomorrow morning. Perhaps we could call him early tomorrow to hear whatever additional evidence he has.
I would suggest that rather than doing that this afternoon.
Mr. HUBBARD. To that I would add, could we please confer with you after the testimony of Mr. Gleason, or do you need to leave?
Mr. Davis. I need to leave at some point this afternoon. But I can be around for a little while, and will be happy to discuss it with you.
Mr. HUBBARD. The staff, Mr. Bauman and this Congressman will confer with you just to give us a chance to chat with you this afternoon later, or this evening. You have been asked not to leave the country. [Laughter.]
Mr. Davis. I can assure you, I won't.
Mr. HUBBARD. By someone with more weight than I. I realize you are trying to be cooperative, and yet you are also trying to be careful in your delicate situation. And I empathize with your need to be careful in what you say, even in a closed session.
Mr. Davis. That is correct. We still have trial problems. You wouldn't want a closed session followed by a fight with trial defense attorneys which could lead to their request for a transcript of the closed session, which could have classified materials revealed.
We could be creating a gray mail situation, which we have created in other cases.
I would be happy to make arrangements.
Mr. HUBBARD. We will discuss it with you later today. But again, as I say, as Chairman I can empathize with you, and as an attorney, your delicate situation as to what you could say in a closed session.
Mr. Davis. I appreciate it. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF THE HON. RICHARD J. Davis, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE
TREASURY, ENFORCEMENT AND OPERATIONS Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, we are here today in response to your request for testimony concerning various investigations conducted by Treasury law enforcement agents into a series of firearms transactions in Miami, Florida. These investigations, which are still ongoing, have resulted in one indictment which is now pending in the Southern District of Florida. Some aspects on this matter are now before the Grand Jury.
In appearing here today, there are two considerations about which the Committee should be aware. First, because the underlying facts involve evidence in both a pending trial and an ongoing investigation, we are seriously restricted as to what we can say in public session. As described previously to the Committee staff, our public testimony will be limited to describing those materials already formally in the public record. To do otherwise could jeopardize the ability of the United States to conduct the trial of this matter and to successfully complete these inquiries, consequences neither we, nor we are sure, the Committee desire.
Second, since these events are still under investigation, the state of our knowledge is necessarily in flux and, as to some aspects, incomplete.
With these cautions in mind, I would like to describe the state of these investigations.
An indictment was filed in Miami charging Jose Pujol (an employee of Air Panama), Carlos Wittgreen (a Panamanian), Walter McComas (an exporter), James Howell (owner of Public Safety Associates), and Jose Alverez (firearms dealer), with conspiring to violate the Gun Control Act by dealing in firearms without proper licenses and with failing to maintain required records. Mr. Alvarez was also charged
with certain recordkeeping violations. The transactions referred to in the indictment included .30 caliber M-1 rifles, pistols and ammunition. The indictment states that a number of these firearms were transported to Panama. While an affidavit filed in connection with the arrest of Mr. Pujol quotes him as saying these weapons would be going to Nicaraguan guerrilla forces, the indictment does not contain this allegation and the case filed does not specifically relate to any export violations.
The affidavit also refers to the participation of the Panamanian Consul in Miami, Edgardo Lopez, in these transactions. A copy of both the affidavit and indictment are attached to my statement.
In addition, a related investigation is also in progress concerning certain weapons which were shipped from Miami to Panama under legal licenses issued by the Office of Munitions Control in the State Department. The licenses authorized shipment of 250 weapons to Caza y Pesca, a company in Panama. Certain weapons traced to these shipments, we have been informed, have been seized in Nicaragua. The purpose of this investigation is to determine whether there has been any criminal violation of the Arms Export Control Act by diverting weapons contrary to the terms of the license. Some of the weapons brought to this country by Nicaraguan officials in the last several days are involved in this inquiry.
This completes my prepared statement. Consistent with the limitations existing on what can be said in public session, I will be prepared to answer any questions you may have.
From on or about August 1, 1978, and continuing up to
and including January 29, 1979, at Dade County,
JOSE A. PUJOL,
did wilfully, knowingly and unlawfully combine, conspire, confederate and agree with each other and with other persons to the Grand Jury known and unknown, to commit offenses against the United States, to-wit: to violate Title 18,
United States Code, Sections 922(a)(1) and 922(b)(5).
It was a part of said.conspiracy that the defendants would engage in the business of dealing in firearms, and in the course of such business would ship or transport firearms in foreign commerce,
from Miami, Florida, to The Republic of Panama, without being licensed to do so.
It was further a part of the scheme and conspiracy that JOSE ANTONIO ALVAREZ, although being a Federal firearms licensed dealer, assisted CARLOS WITTGREEN and JAMES HOWELL in the purchase of large quantities of firearms without maintaining proper records thereof pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, Section 923(g).
In furtherance of and to effect and achieve the unlawful
goals of the conspiracy the defendants did at or about the
times and locations hereinafter referred to, commit certain
overt acts, among which are the following:
1. on or about August 8, 1978, JOSE ANTONIO ALVAREZ purchased six (6) firearms from the Valor Corporation, 5555
N.W. 36th Street, Miami, Florida.
2. on or about September 7, 1978, JOSE ANTONIO ALVAREZ purchased fifty-five (55) firearms from the Valor Corporation, 555 N.W. 36th Street, Miami, Florida.
3. On or about September 8, 1978 JOSE ANTONIO ALVAREZ purchased fifteen (15) firearms from the Valor Corporation, 5555 N.W. 36th Street, Miami, Florida.
4. On or about September 8, 1978, JOSE ANTONIO ALVAREZ purchased two (2) firearms from South Florida Police
Products, Inc., 2072 N.W. 7th Street, Miami, Florida.
5. On or about September 8, 1978, JOSE ANTONIO ALVAREZ ordered
hundred (100) .30 caliber M-) rifles from
Universal Firearms Corporation, 3740 E. 10th Court, Hialeah,
or about September 12, 1978, JOSE ANTONIO ALVAREZ purchased seventy-seven (77) firearms from the Valor · Corporation, 5555 N.W. 36th Street, Miami, Florida, and subsequently transported the firearms to CARLOS WITTGREEN in the Republic of Panama. ::
7. on or about September 20, 1978, JOSE A. PUJOL ordered a quantity of firearms from Garcia National Gun Shop,