Texas couple finds fully automatic military-grade M16s in storage cases purchased online

‘Not only is it shocking it’s a federal crime,’ says retired Houston police captain and former Marine

A couple finds military assault weapons in their online order from a government surplus store.

HOUSTON – A couple in Houston recently discovered a number of fully automatic M16s inside gun storage cases they bought from an online government surplus store.

The couple has a business where they buy surplus items and resell them on eBay, which is why they purchased the 108 storage cases.

According to ABC13, a friend helped to stack and store the cases over the weekend so the couple gave that person one of the cases as a thank you.

When the person opened the case, he discovered 12 fully-automatic M16s inside. The weapons are designed specifically for military use only.

All the weapons had tags that designated the military branch and names of service members who had previously handled the weapons, ABC13 reported.

Retired Houston police captain and former Marine Greg Fremin said the military carefully tracks all of its weapons because any misplaced weapons can be extremely dangerous.

“It’s almost surreal to have something like that happen nowadays. It’s incredible, it’s surreal, it’s unbelievable to think military-grade weapons would be shipped in containers, would be shipped across state lines. For somebody to have access to that — it’s pretty shocking,” Fremin said.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms executed a search warrant after the couple reported the weapons to authorities.

The couple did not want to be identified on camera but the husband told ABC13 that they purchased the cases and expected them to be empty.

“For these boxes to have M16s in them and be shipped to a public destination, not only is it shocking it’s a federal crime,” said Fremin. “One of the strictest things we have in the military is weapons accountability. So these weapons are missing somewhere from a U.S. armory, and somebody doesn’t know it. That’s the scary thing about that for the U.S. military right now.”

It’s unclear how many boxes contained weapons and how many guns were seized by authorities.

KSAT has reached out to the ATF for more information.


About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.