Los Angeles Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Task Force Results in Numerous Arrests
Los Angeles: In January of 2018, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detectives assigned to Hollywood Area and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) began a joint investigation related to the sale of assault rifles.
"This was a six-month investigation into Los Angeles-based gang members and their associates," said the ATF Los Angeles Field Division Special Agent in Charge Bill McMullan. "The investigation resulted in more than 45 firearms, high-capacity magazines, and pounds of methamphetamine taken off the streets. Search warrants at the end of the investigation resulted in the seizing of firearms manufacturing tools and materials used to build AR-style rifles and pistols from unfinished lower receiver kits. This is a common trend ATF is seeing in SoCal amongst gangs. Criminals building their own guns since they are prohibited from buying guns legally. I am proud this collaboration of resources between law enforcement partners made a significant impact for this community."
Between January and June of 2018, LAPD detectives and ATF agents conducted over a dozen undercover operations focusing on the manufacturing of pistol and assault weapons known as "ghost guns." "Ghost guns" are firearms manufactured without serial numbers and require no background checks for purchase, making them undetected firearms to law enforcement authorities. Los Angeles has seen an increase in the number of "ghost guns", particularly in the form of semi-automatic 9mm pistols. Detectives often recover "ghost guns" associated with criminal activity.
The involved suspects were engaged in the illegal possession, transportation, and sales of "ghost guns" and assault weapons in the Hollywood area. The investigation yielded a total of 50 firearms, a firearm suppressor, numerous high capacity magazines, ammunition, assault rifle manufacturing equipment and parts, over 3 pounds of methamphetamine, vehicles, body armor and money.
Most of the firearms recovered are known as "ghost guns" and have no serial numbers for tracking. Most of the firearms recovered were AR-15 type rifles in various configurations. One AK-47 rifle and one SKS rifle were also recovered.
Ten suspects with ties to an East Los Angeles criminal street gang were identified as a result of the investigation. State search warrants and arrest warrants were obtained and served by LAPD Hollywood Division detectives and officers, ATF, GND Narcotics Abatement Unit and the LAPD Gun Unit. Additionally, the LA County Probation Department and the LA County Department of Children and Family Services Multi-Agency Response Team (MART) assisted with their technical expertise. The investigation focused on the sale of illegal firearms and narcotics in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. The primary suspect, Enrique Saucedo Jr was involved in assault rifle transportation, distribution and sales in Hollywood and San Fernando Valley.
On June 29th, 2018, search warrants were served, leading to the recovery of additional assault rifles, firearms, high capacity magazines and methamphetamine. Nine suspects were arrested. On July 4, 2018, the last suspect, Luis Vasquez was taken into custody by LAPD Operations South Bureau - Gang Enforcement Detail. There are no additional outstanding suspects.
In total, 47 felony counts were filed with by the Los Angeles District Attorney. The charges include 30600(a)PC - Manufacture/Transportation/Sales of Assault Rifles, 33410PC - Possession of a Silencer and 183(a)(1)PC - Criminal Conspiracy.
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