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Ex-SEAL convicted of arms trafficking ignobly discharged

Two months after a federal jury in Las Vegas convicted him of arms trafficking, former Navy SEAL Nicholas Bickle this week was given an "other than honorable" discharge, which is the most severe form of administrative separation from military service.

Unlike dishonorable or bad conduct discharges, which can be issued only after a member of the military has been found guilty in a court-martial, other than honorable discharges can occur when the service member lands in trouble with civilian courts.

The petty officer first class was found guilty on 13 of 15 counts at the conclusion of his trial in October. He was portrayed as the leader of a ring that sold unlawful firearms.

Prosecutors said Bickle brought more than 70 machine guns and other weapons into the United States from Iraq, where he was twice deployed.

An informant tipped off agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who posed as gun buyers in an undercover operation that began in 2010.

Lt. Cmdr. Frank Magallon in an email told the Review-Journal that Bickle’s discharge means the decorated sailor is ineligible to receive Veterans Affairs benefits, payment for accrued leave, separation pay, GI Bill benefits and commissary and Navy Exchange privileges.

And Bickle is banned from wearing his uniform at weddings or official events.

Bickle’s attorney, Jim Pokorny, told the Review-Journal that Bickle was ordered to surrender to the U.S. Marshals Service office Tuesday morning. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 3.

Pokorny earlier said that Bickle faces significant time in prison and that he plans to appeal the conviction.

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