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A former U.S. Navy SEAL was sentenced Tuesday to 17 1/2 years in prison after prosecutors said he led a scheme to sell machine guns, explosives and military hardware smuggled into the U.S. from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Nicholas Bickle, who was cast by his lawyer as a wayward war hero who gave his mental and physical health for his country, made a brief plea for leniency before U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt imposed the sentence.

“I just hope and pray the court affords me an opportunity to start over and be a productive member of society,” Bickle said, wearing mustard yellow inmate garb with the word “detainee” on his back and shackles on his ankles.

The judge noted that Bickle, 34, wore his Navy uniform during trial, but said he considered it a bid to impress the jury.

Read more at Boston.com

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