March 27 (UPI) — A federal grand jury on Monday charged two California police officers with illegally selling approximately 100 firearms.
According to the indictment, Gardena police officers Carlos Miguel Fernandez, 42, and Edward Yasushiro Arao, 47, bought firearms “off-roster” — a method available only to law enforcement officers — and sold them through an online business named Ronin Tactical Group, which they promoted on Instagram, and at gun shows.
Most of the guns they sold were Colt .38-caliber handguns.
“Neither defendant was licensed individually to engage in the business of dealing in firearms when the illegal gun sales alleged in the indictment took place,” prosecutors said.
Fernandez and Arao are 17-year veterans of the Gardena Police Department and were placed on administrative leave, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“We are deeply concerned about the case,” said Gardena Police Chief Ed Medrano. “This type of conduct is inconsistent with our organizational values and the ethics of our profession and will not be tolerated by the Gardena Police Department.”
Last year, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Los Angeles, which assisted in the investigation of Fernandez and Arao, sent a memo to Southern California law enforcement leaders warning that there was an “emerging problem” of police officers illegally selling firearms.
Some of those weapons were found at crime scenes, the ATF said.