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Navy SEAL, others accused in weapons smuggling plot

By Ken Ritter
Associated Press / November 5, 2010

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LAS VEGAS — Federal agents seized 5 pounds of C-4 military explosives from the Colorado home of a man accused with a Navy SEAL and a Las Vegas associate of smuggling machine guns from Iraq into the United States for sale and shipment to Mexico, authorities said yesterday.

Grenades and night-vision goggles also were found in the Durango, Colo., home of 34-year-old Richard Paul, according to federal prosecutors and agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in Las Vegas and Colorado.

Paul was arrested Wednesday with Andrew Kaufman, 36, of Las Vegas, and the two were ordered held in federal custody pending a hearing.

They are accused of conspiring with Navy SEAL Nicholas Bickle of San Diego to smuggle and sell weapons to an undercover federal agent in Nevada and Colorado.

“As long as they got paid . . . they didn’t care if the weapons wound up in Mexico or on the streets of Las Vegas,’’ federal prosecutor Drew Smith told US Magistrate Judge George Foley Jr. in Las Vegas.

Smith characterized Bickle, 33, as a “rogue Navy SEAL’’ who also worked as a consultant on the Hollywood movie “Transformers 3.’’

Bickle was to appear today before a judge in San Diego.

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