Prosecution rests in Reese trial, defendant takes stand

U.S. Federal Court House Las Cruces
Las Cruces Sun-News The prosecution rested Friday in the Reese family gun sales trial, allowing the defense team to begin presenting its case at U.S. District Court. Rick Reese, owner of New Deal Shooting Sports in Deming, took the stand and testified that he had no suspicions that the firearms bought by a government informant and undercover federal agents — who were posing as straw purchasers — at his store last year were purportedly bound for Mexico. Reese also said he did not know that the firearms were supposedly being bought for Jose Roman, a mid-level associate of the Juarez Drug Cartel, instead of the undercover agents who signed for the weapons. "I would have thrown (Roman) out of the store," said Reese, who also testified under direct examination from his attorney, Robert Gorence, that he never assisted Roman with taking firearms to Mexico. "I would not put my wife and sons in harm's way, ever," Reese said. Roman, the informant, implicated the Reese family in a debriefing with federal agents shortly after his arrest in January 2011 on marijuana distribution charges. Roman testified against the Reeses last week. Defense attorneys attacked his credibility, portraying him as a manipulative liar looking to deflect attention from his criminal activities. Rick Reese is expected to continue testifying Monday, where he and his wife, Terri, and their sons, Ryin and Remington, have been on trial for the past two weeks on charges that they sold assault rifles and ammunition to people who had indicated the materials were bound for Mexico to battle the La Sinaloa drug cartel. During six undercover buys from April 2011 to July 2011, prosecutors said the defendants sold 34 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition to the undercover agents and Roman, who acted as the negotiator for the undercover agents. Speaking in a composed manner, Rick Reese testified Friday that it was not unusual for people to come into his store to negotiate transactions for other less-experienced buyers. Defense lawyers have argued that the Reeses followed all legal procedures during the undercover sales, and that the defendants kept detailed records of every transaction in their store. The defense team also noted that Terri Reese contacted law enforcement after a suspicious transaction in 2010. Judge Robert C. Brack told the jury Friday that testimony may conclude Monday, with the possibility of closing arguments in the afternoon. Read More News New Mexico



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