NAVY SEAL FOUND GUILTY IN ARMS
SMUGGLING CASE - PO1 NICHOLAS BICKLE
COULD GET UP TO 125 YEARS IN PRISON
AND $3.25 MILLION IN FINES - SO-CALLED
"BEST FRIEND" TESTIFIES AGAINST PAL IN
LAS VEGAS FED COURT - CRITICS SAY AT
BEST, GOVT. CASE AGAINST BICKLE IS
"CIRCUMSTANTIAL" - NO FINGER PRINTS
OR DNA PRODUCED BY PROSECUTORS TO
PROVE BICKLE HANDLED ILLEGAL WEAPONS
© 2011 MilitaryCorruption.com
They are among America's bravest warriors.
Few fighting men are tougher than the Navy's famed SEALS. Who can forget it was SEAL TEAM SIX who "took out"evil Osama Bin Laden in a daring and highly dangerous raid into the killer's compound in Pakistan?
So, when one of these elite fighters stands trial on charges of smuggling illegal firearms and ammunition into our country from Iraq and Afghanistan, many shake their heads and cry out " . . .say it isn't so!"
STRONG SUPPORT FROM FELLOW SEALS
By all accounts, Petty Officer 1st Class Nicholas Bickle was considered to be the ideal SEAL.
The 34 year-old combat veteran from San Diego was so admired by his fellow warriors that his commanding officer and two dozen fellow SEALS attended Bickle's trial at Las Vegas, Nev. federal court in a show of solidarity.
Letters attesting to Bickle's bravery and outstanding Navy service were read in the courtroom and entered into the trial record.
But it was a former "best friend," Richard Paul, that turned against PO1 Bickle and gave testimony that could send the much-decorated SEAL to prison for the rest of his life.
A LIGHTER SENTENCE IN EXCHANGE FOR LIES?
Paul, 35, of Durango, Colo., cut a deal with the Feds whereby he gets a lesser sentence if he implicates Bickle as mastermind of the arms smuggling ring.
The SEAL was hit with 13 counts of stealing and smuggling handguns, machine-guns, ammunition, night-vision goggles and rifle scopes into the U.S. from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Five pounds of C-4 explosive was discovered in Paul's home. The govt. witness acknowledges he could get a lower sentence and fine in exchange for cooperating with federal prosecutors.
But is Paul telling the truth? No Bickle fingerprints or DNA has been discovered that could link the outlawed arms and ammo to Bickle. The handguns and AK-47 assault rifle components found in a raid on Bickle's San Diego apartment don't prove anything, as the military hardware could be part of the SEAL's personal arms collection.
Bickle will find out what his fate is next January 20th when he is sentenced. In the meantime, the E-6 has been released from custody but must wear a monitoring device at all times.