RIVERSIDE, Calif. (The Blaze/AP) -- A federal jury in Southern California has convicted a former U.S. Marine of illegally possessing a chrome-plated AK-47 that may have once belonged to a member of Saddam Hussein's royal guard.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Chiu said in a statement Tuesday that 40-year-old Joel Cleve Miller, of Twentynine Palms, was found guilty last week of illegally possessing a machine gun.
Miller was not convicted of transporting the weapon from Iraq.
City News Service has more:
According to court records, while serving on a 14-month combat tour in Iraq that ended in November 2005, the defendant got hold of a chrome-plated AK-47, an MP-5 submachine gun and an FAL automatic rifle.
The weapons were loaded into a sea bag, thrown onto a plane and sent to the U.S. after the Marine finished his overseas deployment, according to the prosecution's trial brief. Customs officials apparently did not spot them.
Miller sold one gun to a friend for $500 and gave the other one away to a fellow Marine, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
When Miller and his wife divorced in 2007, she contacted Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents and informed them that her ex-husband had left the firearms at her Hemet home and she wanted them removed, according to court documents.
Weapons experts determined the gun was from Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan because of its markings.
Miller was initially accused of possessing and selling another machine gun but was acquitted on those charges.
He faces up to 10 years in prison at his sentencing scheduled for Sept. 27.
Miller -- a 20-year veteran -- was dishonorably discharged from the Marine Corps in December for falsifying travel records.