One of the rifles Joseph Gill, a former DEA supervisory special agent in Nogales, sold to suspected drug traffickers was seized on its way to Mexico, court documents say.

A former federal agent in Nogales was sentenced to five years of probation after he pleaded guilty to selling firearms without a license.

Joseph Gill, a 42-year-old former supervisory special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, sold a Colt model M4LE 5.56-caliber semi-automatic rifle in July 2016 to a suspected drug trafficker, which came to light during a federal investigation of the drug-trafficking organization.

The rifle was smuggled into Mexico and a nearly identical rifle sold by Gill was seized on a shuttle heading into Mexico through Nogales, U.S. District Court records show.

Gill pleaded guilty in August to a felony charge of selling firearms without a license, with reason to believe the buyers of the rifles would use them unlawfully, court records show. He faced up to two years in prison under his plea agreement.

At a sentencing hearing Monday, Gill said he had sold firearms for many years, calling it a “hobby that I took to an extreme.” He said he did not know the buyers of the rifles were part of a drug-trafficking organization, but “I should have known better and I should have done better.”

District Court Judge Raner C. Collins said he was “torn” about how to sentence Gill, but decided to “give him the benefit of the doubt.”

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The first six months of Gill’s five years of probation will be served on home detention, Collins said. He ordered Gill to pay a $15,000 fine and perform 500 hours of community service. Gill is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Gill resigned from the DEA on June 30 after 14 years with the agency.

Contact reporter Curt Prendergast at 573-4224 or cprendergast@tucson.com or on Twitter @CurtTucsonStar