First Responders

Texas Man Caught Fencing $2.2 Million in Stolen Fort Hood Night Fighting Gear

March 21, 2022Carl Prine
night vision

Sgt. Christopher Jeffery, a UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter crew chief assigned to 1st Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, adjusts his AN/PVS-7 night vision goggles on Oct. 3, 2013, at Forward Operating Base Fenty, in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan. US Army photo by Capt. Peter Smedberg.

A Texas man who tried to fence nearly $2.2 million in stolen US Army night fighting equipment and run an illegal gambling den is going to prison.

Nathan Nichols, 46, faces up to five years behind bars for each of the two convictions. He’s slated to be sentenced on June 21 by US District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Corpus Christi.

He’s agreed to surrender $2,185,218.73 in assets tied to the illegal enterprises, including gold bullion, jewels, body armor, a Ford F-150 pickup truck, and currency seized from his home, and the Lady Luck and Rio Sweepstakes gambling facilities in Corpus Christi.

On Friday, March 18, Nichols inked two separate plea deals with federal prosecutors for both the fencing conspiracy and the gambling charge. On Monday, he appeared by video link before US Magistrate Judge Mitchel Neurock, who accepted his pleas.

Coffee or Die Magazine’s attempts to reach Nichols were not successful. According to online Texas jail records, he’s incarcerated in Bexar County. His criminal defense attorneys didn’t reply to messages seeking comment.

Texas man
US Air Force Senior Airman Cody Fuller, a 122nd Security Forces member from the 122nd Fighter Wing in Fort Wayne, Indiana, aims his PEQ-15 laser device at a target. US Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. William Hopper.

A 2019 undercover Corpus Christi Police Department sting targeted Nichols for running illegal video slot machines. He was out on bond after being indicted on federal gambling and money laundering charges when someone used bolt cutters to open 17 Conex boxes at Fort Hood, Texas, on June 16, 2021.

US Army investigators counted three AN/PEQ-15 laser range finders, 58 AN/PAS-13 thermal scopes, four AN/PVS-30 night vision sights, 12 AN/PVS-7 night vision goggles, and three AN/PSQ-23A laser aiming devices missing from the steel storage containers.

On June 29, 2021, federal agents spotted a listing by “us-everythingmustgo”  on the online retailer eBay offering sensitive military equipment for sale. The serial numbers on the advertised products seemed to match those for the stolen gear, and the seller’s identity traced back to Nichols in Corpus Christi.

On July 9, 2021, federal agents raided Nichols’ house, recovering all the stolen military items. On Nichols’ phone were conversations between him and a co-conspirator, Jessica Smith, who agents said worked with an unnamed Texas man to steal the gear for Nichols, according to his criminal complaint.

Read Next: Former Special Forces Handler Gives Veterans and Dogs a Second Chance

Carl Prine
Carl Prine

Carl Prine is a former senior editor at Coffee or Die Magazine. He has worked at Navy Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
US Launches Airstrikes in Syria After Drone Kills US Worker

While it’s not the first time the U.S. and Iran have traded airstrikes in Syria, the attack and the ...

March 24, 2023Associated Press
The Gift jason dunham
‘The Gift’ Explores the Life and Legacy of Medal of Honor Recipient Jason Dunham

"The Gift" tells the story of the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor after the Vietnam War. ...

March 24, 2023Mac Caltrider
uss milius
US Denies Chinese Claim It Drove Away American Destroyer

The U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet said that a statement from China's Southern Theatre Command that it had fo...

March 23, 2023Associated Press
The Speed Project: Vet Team To Run in Lawless, Invite-Only Ultramarathon

For the first time, a team of (mostly) US veterans and active-duty service members will run in The S...

March 23, 2023Jenna Biter
uranium-based ammo ammunition Ukraine UK depleted uranium
A Look At the Uranium-Based Ammo the UK Will Send to Ukraine

The British defense ministry on Monday confirmed it would provide Ukraine with armor-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium.

March 23, 2023Associated Press
Zaporizhzhia Ukraine Russia
Ukraine: Russia Hits Apartments and Dorm, Killing Civilians

“Russia is shelling the city with bestial savagery,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote in a Telegr...

March 22, 2023Associated Press
cold brew coffee soda float
The Bitter Barista's Cold Brew Coffee Soda Float

Today, we combine the best of both worlds with this indulgent recipe, smashing together our love of coffee and ice cream with a cold brew coffee soda float!

March 21, 2023Heather Lynn
abrams tanks ukraine
US Speeds Up Abrams Tank Delivery to Ukraine War Zone

The original plan was to send Ukraine 31 of the newer M1A2 Abrams, which could have taken a year or ...

March 21, 2023Associated Press
  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
  • Request a Correction
  • Write for Us
  • General Inquiries
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved