Some days it doesn’t pay to get out of bed.
This week, in Las Vegas, a man who had lost big in the casinos hatched a plan to get his money back. The first thing he needed was a gun. Then he needed a mark with a lot of money whom he could rob.
Things didn’t go as he planned.
Hebbar, 46, was arrested on August 12 after negotiating the purchase of a tricked-out AR15 with a scope and silencer. The seller was an undercover FBI informant according to the criminal complaint filed.
Hebbar told the source that he had lost money at a local casino and need the “totally automatic” weapon to rob an unidentified man to recoup his losses.
Hebbar then told the informant during a tape-recorded discussion that he needed a potential victim’s legs broken and was prepared to spend $1,000 per leg.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Koppe directed Hebbar to stay in federal confinement while he faces a charge of illegally owning a “machine gun.”
Koppe determined that Hebbar was a flight danger as he holds a French passport.
Immediately before the arrest, Hebbar was shown the rifle as he met with the informant while agents with the bureau’s organized crime squad watched. The informant explained to Hebbar the weaponry was worth about $25,000 on the black market.
Agents swooped in when Hebbar placed the AR15 in the back of his vehicle. They found over $30,000 in bills in Hebbar’s coat pocket.
Hebbar claimed in court he could not manage to hire a lawyer; agents had taken all his money.
How does a gun which retails for $250 – $700 practically anywhere end up selling for $25,000?
The illegal gun market is as diverse and shadowy as any black market. There is even an online price sheet of illegal guns. Besides weapons, Havocscope lists the prices of black market goods of all types in practically all countries.
Back to the AR-15. A decent entry level gun can be bought for around $650, and aluminum GI magazines run for about $8 each. These magazines aren’t the best, but they can shoot all day on cheap steel ammunition.
There are two things that make the gun so expensive:
1. When the gun owner starts accessorizing, and
2.There’s never any bargain-basement discounts in the black market.
Number two should be obvious, so let’s look at #1.
An AR15 has a 16-inch barrel that comes with the gun, but let’s say the owner feels they are a sniper. They get a different upper portion with a 22-inch stainless bull barrel and a $2000 scope to put on top. Then, a person needs the adjustable cheek sniper buttstock, a bipod, and a new grip.
And the potential accessorizing doesn’t end there. The AR15 isn’t so much a weapon as it is a platform and can be changed and modified to suit the individual shooter’s tastes.
Don’t want to be a sniper? A “bump-stock” can be added which turns a standard AR15 semi-assault rifle into a virtual assault rifle capable of firing hundreds of hundreds in seconds.
Beyond that, a person can switch from a DI AR to a gas piston and free-float hand guard, rails are extra, a flat-top flip-up sight or a red-dot.
It’s possible to get to several thousand dollars pretty quick.