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Friend’s father-in-law testifies at Navy SEAL’s arms trafficking trial

A Colorado man testified under a grant of immunity Tuesday during a Navy SEAL’s arms trafficking trial in Las Vegas.

The witness, Glenn Camarca, told jurors he and Petty Officer 1st Class Nicholas Bickle, his son-in-law’s close friend, shot an MP5 machine gun together at a public firing range near Durango, Colo., in May 2009.

Jurors were shown photos of Camarca and Bickle with the weapon at the range.

Camarca said he found an AK-47 at his house about a year later and assumed it was a gift from Bickle.

“Ultimately, I destroyed it,” he testified.

Camarca said he did so in November after he “realized that it was illegal and dangerous” for him to have it. Bickle and Camarca’s son-in-law, Richard Paul, were arrested in November. Paul is married to Camarca’s daughter.

Federal prosecutors continued presenting their case against Bickle on Tuesday after a four-day recess. Bickle, 33, is accused of bringing machine guns and other weapons into the country from Iraq and conspiring with others to sell them. Three other defendants in the case, including Paul, have accepted plea bargains and offered their cooperation.

Paul, a resident of Durango, testified last week and identified Bickle as the source of machine guns and pistols he sold from his home last year. Paul also said Bickle, a San Diego-based SEAL, once gave him a machine gun as a gift.

Also last week, filmmaker Peter Berg testified that Bickle gave him an AK-47 as a “trophy weapon” in 2009 after the pair developed a friendship in Iraq.

Berg directed such films as “Friday Night Lights,” “The Kingdom” and “Hancock.” He also developed the “Friday Night Lights” television series. As an actor, he played Dr. Billy Kronk on the television drama “Chicago Hope.”

The filmmaker said he was embedded with SEAL Team Five for nearly a month in March 2009 while preparing to make his upcoming movie, “Lone Survivor,” based on the book by Marcus Luttrell. Embedded journalists typically live with military units while covering armed conflicts.

Berg said Bickle later gave him the AK-47 at a hotel in San Diego. Berg said he took the weapon to his house and kept it in a safe in his garage until December 2009, when prop master Doug Fox destroyed it for him.

A federal indictment charges Bickle with conspiracy to deal unlawfully in firearms. Prosecutors have described him as the conspiracy’s leader. They have said more than 70 firearms, including 30 machine guns, were sold in the conspiracy.

Bickle also faces charges of dealing in firearms without a license, possession and transfer of machine guns, possession and sale of stolen firearms, receiving and concealing property of the United States, and distributing explosives to a nonlicensee. He is the only military member charged in the case.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at cgeer@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710.

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