Law Enforcement

Attorney General Bonta Applauds Ninth Circuit Decision Allowing Vital Data Sharing with Gun Violence Researchers

May 8, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today secured a court decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit allowing the California Department of Justice (DOJ) to continue sharing data with qualified gun violence researchers to better direct strategies to prevent gun violence. The decision in Doe v. Bonta allows DOJ to continue to provide the University of California Firearm Violence Research Center and other qualified gun violence researchers with data under Assembly Bill 173 (AB 173), which is necessary to conduct research evaluating the leading causes and impacts of gun violence as well as effective responses. 

“Enabling rigorous empirical research is crucial as we strive to combat the scourge of gun violence within our state,” said Attorney General Bonta. “The Ninth Circuit’s decision marks a significant victory in our endeavor to curb gun violence in California. The information shared under AB 173 is pivotal: It enables groundbreaking research that supports informed policymaking aimed at reducing and preventing firearm violence and saving lives.”

Since the 1950s, California law has required DOJ to maintain records of handgun sales in California, and recently added sales of long guns and ammunition. This data provides a unique opportunity for gun violence research not available anywhere else. Since at least 1989, researchers at the University of California, Davis have been utilizing that data in studies aimed at understanding and preventing various forms of firearm violence. In 2016, the Legislature directed the Regents of the University of California to establish a Firearm Violence Research Center with the goals of producing interdisciplinary research addressing the nature and consequences of firearm violence, and working with policymakers to identify, implement, and evaluate innovative firearm violence prevention policies and programs. 

To aid in those goals, the Legislature mandated through AB 173 that DOJ provide this firearms data to the Firearm Violence Research Center and, at the Attorney General’s discretion, to other qualified researchers. Five registered California gun owners challenged the legislation and claimed it violated their Second Amendment rights and their right to informational privacy under the Fourteenth Amendment, among other claims. On Wednesday, May 8, the Ninth Circuit issued a unanimous published decision affirming the complete dismissal of this challenge to the law.

A copy of the court’s decision can be found here.

Attorney General Bonta and Community Leaders Engage in a Roundtable Discussion Addressing Gun Violence in Los Angeles

April 16, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

LOS ANGELES – As part of a statewide effort to address gun violence, California Attorney General Rob Bonta today was joined by local leaders for a roundtable discussion. The roundtable in Los Angeles is the second in a series of meetings led by Attorney General Bonta across the state to bring together leaders of community-based organizations to discuss best practices in addressing gun violence. The primary objective of the roundtables is to formulate effective approaches for addressing gun violence in communities, foster knowledge about accessible resources for the public, and enhance partnerships statewide to more effectively prevent shootings and interrupt cycles of trauma and violence in California. 

“Gun violence is an epidemic that pervades our society,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Just this year alone, we’ve already had 116 mass shootings and we’re only midway through April. This roundtable discussion is one of the many ways we are fighting this disease. Preventing gun violence must begin in our communities by strengthening relationships and fostering an environment of support and collaboration. I’m proud to stand with our local partners to identify best practices, foster community involvement, and work toward community-driven solutions to eliminate gun violence and protect survivors. As California Attorney General, I am doubling down on California’s gun safety efforts: I am defending our commonsense gun safety laws in court, cracking down on enforcing those laws, and working in collaboration with local community violence intervention and prevention experts to disrupt cycles of gun violence.” 

As we celebrate a downward trend in violence, we must remember that any lives lost by gun violence is too many—we aim for zero: zero homicides and zero gunshots,” said Ben “Taco” Owens of Detours Mentoring Group. “Looking forward, we must collectively continue advocating for more investment in community violence intervention.”

"As a survivor and long-time activist in this movement, I have learned that so many instances of gun violence are preventable - especially when it comes to gun suicides and unintentional shootings,” said Mia Livas Porter of Moms Demand Action. “Gun violence is a public health epidemic. And it is going to take every single one of us to address this uniquely American crisis - from parents asking about safe gun storage on playdates to our electeds and government agencies at every level using their platform to encourage gun safety. “

“The first of all civil rights is safety. And the first of all freedoms is freedom from violence,” said Connie Rice, Member of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and Co-crafter of LA’s Pioneering Violence Reduction Strategy. “The violence and gun reduction pioneers joining Attorney General Bonta today know that safety in high violence neighborhoods requires far more than handcuffs—it requires concerted community-government partnership and the resources to carry out all-hands-on- deck violence reduction strategies that lead to safer neighborhoods.” 

As part of the effort to advance justice for all Californians, California Attorney General Rob Bonta took quick action upon entering office to establish the Office of Community Awareness, Response, and Engagement (CARE) within the California Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2021. CARE works directly with community organizations, state and local elected officials, and members of the public to help ensure the inclusion of diverse perspectives in the state’s work. Specifically, CARE focuses on cultivating relationships with historically marginalized and underrepresented communities in line with DOJ’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of its work on behalf of the people of California, including in the fight for environmental, economic, and social justice.

In September of 2022, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the launch of the CA DOJ’s first-in-the-nation Office of Gun Violence Prevention (OGVP), a unit dedicated to developing strategies and working with stakeholders statewide to address the gun violence epidemic. This innovative new office — the first Office of Gun Violence Prevention under the leadership of a state attorney general — provides centralized support from the DOJ for partners to implement strategic and innovative programs to reduce gun violence.  The OGVP’s mission is to reduce and prevent gun violence, firearm injury, and related trauma. The OGVP supports DOJ’s ongoing gun violence reduction efforts led by the Bureau of Firearms and DOJ's litigation sections — including the Department’s seizure of firearms from dangerous individuals using the  Armed and Prohibited Persons System, (APPS), prosecution of firearms trafficking cases, and defense of California’s commonsense gun laws. The OGVP will examine a broad range of factors — from firearm availability to effective resources for crisis prevention — to reduce the harm caused by firearms and make Californians healthier and safer. The OGVP aims to reduce gun violence by promoting research and data collectionincreasing awareness about effective legal and policy strategies, and collaborating with federal, state, and local partners.

In August 2023, the office released its first data report to provide a robust review of gun violence data in California and throughout the U.S. to help guide policy and strategy discussions related to reducing gun violence. The report highlighted California’s successes in preventing gun violence, and it shined a light on successful strategies and further areas for improvements. For example, over the last 30 years, California has reduced its gun violence rate compared to the rest of the United States; once 50% above average, California’s firearm homicide rate is now 33% below the rest of the United States. Additionally, if the firearm mortality rate in the rest of the United States had matched California’s between 2013-2022, there would have been nearly 140,000 fewer firearm-related deaths nationwide in that decade alone. The report also emphasized the importance of community-based efforts to protect survivors and interrupt cycles of violence: people who had survived a gun assault injury in California were over 60 times more likely to be killed in another shooting compared to the statewide average. 

In November 2023, the office released its second data report that provided an in-depth look at the ties between domestic violence and firearms. The report examined data illustrating the impact of firearms-related domestic violence, including both family and intimate partner-related violence with firearms. The report documented California’s long-term progress in reducing domestic violence involving firearms and recent challenges arising during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the report highlighted California’s efforts to empower and protect survivors by providing a range of support services, offering crisis intervention and safety planning options, providing for Domestic Violence Restraining Orders (DVROs), and enforcing laws to protect against gun violence.

Attorney General Bonta stands with partners throughout the state to continue tackling the issue of gun violence strategically and aggressively by:

Attorney General Bonta Announces Citrus Heights Sex Offender Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison for Possession of Child Pornography

April 11, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Bonta today announced 41-year-old Christopher Campbell was sentenced to 14 years in prison for possession of child pornography after he was arrested during an undercover operation to combat child sexual predators within Sacramento County. On February 27, 2023, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) Human Trafficking and Sexual Predator Apprehension Team (HT/SPAT), along with Homeland Security Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, assisted the Sacramento Valley Hi-Tech Crimes Task Force in the joint operation. The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California prosecuted the case.

“Let this conviction serve as a warning to those who harm children: You will be held accountable,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Our office is fighting on behalf of the most vulnerable Californians in the field and in the courtroom. I am thankful for the hard work of our Special Agents during this operation and all our partners who work collaboratively with our regional Human Trafficking and Sexual Predator Apprehension teams throughout the state. When we work together, we get results.”

During the operation, Campbell contacted an undercover HT/SPAT agent to engage in sexual misconduct. It was discovered that Campbell was a registered sex offender, and a search warrant revealed that Campbell had approximately 517 images and 45 videos of child pornography on his iPad and cellphone. Law enforcement also searched Campbell’s cloud storage account, which contained approximately 169 videos of child pornography, including depictions of toddlers and other minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. On April 9, 2024, Campbell was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for possession of child pornography. Campbell was subject to an enhanced statutory penalty for possession of child pornography because he had a prior conviction relating to sexual abuse involving a minor.

The mission of the HT/SPAT program is to disrupt and dismantle violent human trafficking and child exploitation organizations through a comprehensive, collaborative, and statewide response. This program is committed to using a victim-centered approach to aggressively investigate, identify, and recover victims of the brutal crime of forced labor and sexual exploitation for profit or gain by human traffickers and sexual predators. The HT/SPAT program works closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to identify emerging human trafficking trends in order to dismantle domestic and transnational criminal organizations. This program educates communities by providing tools on how to identify human trafficking and works with non-governmental organizations to provide resources and services to victims and survivors.

California Department of Justice Releases 2023 Armed and Prohibited Persons System Program Annual Report

March 11, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

DOJ seized 1,443 firearms through the APPS program, including 88 ghost guns 

DOJ contacted more individuals than ever before — more than 25,000

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced the release of the 2023 Armed and Prohibited Persons System (APPS) annual program report. In 2006, California became the first state in the nation to establish a system for identifying and recovering illegally possessed firearms from individuals who fall into a prohibited status that at one point purchased the firearm legally. The APPS database works to identify individuals who legally procured firearms and later failed to relinquish those weapons after they became prohibited from possessing them. It remains one of the only systems of its kind in the nation. In general, prohibited persons in APPS include individuals who have been convicted of a felony or a violent misdemeanor, are subject to a domestic violence or other restraining order, or suffer from serious mental illness. Through the APPS program in 2023, DOJ recovered 1,443 firearms from illegally armed individuals — including 683 handguns, 364 rifles, 216 shotguns, 39 assault weapons, 88 ghost guns, 51 receivers or frames, and 2 short-barreled shotguns.

“I take great pride in the efforts of our Special Agents as they work diligently to protect and serve the citizens of California,” said Attorney General Bonta. “These courageous individuals are saving lives. They may not always receive public recognition, but their tireless commitment is proactively preventing incidents of gun violence by removing illegally possessed firearms from our communities. As the primary law enforcement official for California, my utmost priority is upholding public safety and protecting our communities from the looming threat posed by gun violence. When firearms fall into the wrong hands, it endangers all of us. We will persist in collaborating with the Governor's Office, Legislature, and local partners to effectively tackle this issue of gun violence head-on.”

The Bureau of Firearms (BOF) within the California Department of Justice's (DOJ) Division of Law Enforcement leads DOJ’s APPS efforts. The 2023 APPS report provides an analysis of the APPS database, a breakdown of Gun Violence Reduction Program Awards, and describes how BOF staff and Special Agents increased enforcement efforts and collaborated with local law enforcement.

Key statistics from the 2023 report include:  

  • For the second year in a row, more individuals were removed from the prohibited list than added in 2023. In 2023, DOJ removed 9,051 people from the APPS database of armed and prohibited persons and added 8,633 people, a decrease of 1.75%. Substantial decreases have only occurred in three previous years since the APPS program came into existence.
  • In total, agents made approximately 25,500 contacts in 2023. DOJ made 1,500 more contacts in 2023 compared to 2022. This is the highest number of contacts since the APPS program came into existence.
    • 2023 saw the fewest additions to the prohibited persons list since 2014, following a steady decline across the past several years. This decrease is due in part to the recent emphasis on seizing firearms at or near the time of prohibition, consistent with DOJ’s recent recommendations.   
    • The number of people in the APPS database of recorded firearm owners grew by 144,242 in 2023. These individuals did not own a registered firearm at the start of 2023 and purchased a firearm during the year. 
  • A key focus for APPS enforcement efforts is recovering firearms from people who are illegally armed in violation of court restraining orders. In 2023, individuals prohibited, at least in part, due to a restraining order made up over 50% of those disarmed due to APPS efforts. This shows the crucial role APPS plays in protecting victims of domestic violence, workplace violence, and other victims from further or potential harm.
  • DOJ’s agents seized a total of 88 ghost guns in 2023, a 63% increase compared to the 54 ghost guns seized during 2022 APPS investigations. 

2023 APPS Operations

DOJ collaborates with local law enforcement agencies throughout the state on individual APPS operations, as well as sweeps, or operations that occur over multiple days within a specific area. A list of operations can be found at the back of the report. Some notable examples include:  

Los Angeles County: In January of 2023, a Los Angeles resident attempted to purchase ammunition and was flagged as prohibited through the ammunition eligibility check process. During the service of the search warrant, agents located one unregistered assault weapon, five rifles, three shotguns, one handgun, one large-capacity magazine, six standard capacity magazines, and approximately 3,700 rounds of ammunition. 

Orange County: In July of 2023, DOJ identified a subject who resided in Villa Park, California, and was prohibited from owning or possessing firearms due to having a domestic violence restraining order issued against him. Agents obtained a search warrant for the residence and during the service of that warrant they located nine handguns, four shotguns, one assault rifle, 13 rifles, 30 ammunition magazines, and 405 rounds of ammunition.

San Luis Obispo County:  In October of 2023, DOJ identified a subject who resided in Paso Robles, California, who was prohibited from owning or possessing firearms due to a mental health commitment. The subject had 50 firearms recorded in his name. Agents contacted the subject, searched his residence, located and seized 281 long guns (both shotguns and rifles), 227 handguns, 92 standard capacity magazines, 25 high-capacity magazines, and approximately 28,000 rounds of ammunition.

About the Bureau of Firearms

DOJ’s BOF serves the people of California through education, regulation, and enforcement actions regarding the manufacture, sale, ownership, safety training, and transfer of firearms and ammunition. BOF staff are leaders in providing firearms expertise and information to law enforcement, legislators, and the general public in a comprehensive program to promote legitimate and responsible firearms possession and use by California residents. BOF is looking to hire additional Special Agents and more information on assessments for relevant job openings can be found on DOJ's website here:  

A copy of the report can be found here

A video highlighting the work that the APPS team does can be found here.


Attorney General Bonta Announces Milestone of Over 2,000 Missing Persons Identified Through the Missing Persons DNA Program and a New Bill to Support More Crime Being Solved

March 4, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

 Sponsors AB 3042 to remove the sunset on Proposition 69, the “DNA Fingerprint, Unsolved Crime and Innocence Protection Act” which directs funding from criminal fines to bolster essential crime-solving DNA services 

SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced that the California Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Missing Persons DNA Program (MPDP) has identified over 2,000 missing persons since its establishment in 2001. Attorney General Bonta also announced, with Assemblymember Stephanie Nguyen (D – Elk Grove), a new bill to ensure DOJ will be able to continue to provide important forensic DNA services with funding through updates to Proposition 69, the “DNA Fingerprint, Unsolved Crime and Innocence Protection Act." Assembly Bill 3042 (AB 3042), authored by Assemblymember Nguyen and sponsored by Attorney General Bonta would remove the sunset date from Proposition 69, the “DNA Fingerprint, Unsolved Crime and Innocence Protection Act.” Proposition 69 directs funding from criminal fines to support essential crime-solving DNA programs both at DOJ and local law enforcement agencies. 

“I am very proud of the important work that is done in our Missing Persons DNA Program and our Bureau of Forensic Services,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “While this milestone is not a celebration, it is important to take a moment to acknowledge what our team has accomplished in the process of bringing closure to the families that have been impacted by tragedy. Nothing can bring a loved one back, but we hope this helps them find peace. This program is just one of the essential services provided by our Bureau of Forensic Services. The Bureau receives crucial funding through Proposition 69, and AB 3024 would ensure that Proposition 69 remains in place to support our efforts to solve crime through forensic services. I want to thank Assemblymember Nguyen and our law enforcement partners for all their work toward this important goal.”

“I would never feel safe knowing someone who has harmed me or my loved ones are still out there,” said Assemblymember Stephanie Nguyen. “I am proud to author AB 3042 in collaboration with Attorney General Bonta to continue key funding to better support public safety in our communities as well as exonerating the innocent.”

Voters approved Proposition 69 in November 2004. Proposition 69 specifically directs money from criminal fines to be allocated towards funding the CAL-DNA Data Bank program which helps to solve violent crimes both at local public crime laboratories and within DOJ itself using the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). In another provision of Proposition 69, the CAL-DNA Data Bank also assists with the identification of missing and unidentified persons, including abducted children, using separate Missing Person CODIS databases. Historically, DOJ has received more than $74 million through Prop. 69 over a span of two decades. However, this proposition included a sunset date that would terminate funding collection after twenty years. AB 3042 seeks to eliminate this sunset date altogether and establish a steady source of revenue outside of the General Fund that will support DNA testing programs at both state and local levels. 

DOJ's Missing Persons DNA Program conducts autosomal short tandem repeat (STR) DNA testing, Y-STR (Y-chromosome, male-specific) testing, and mitochondrial DNA testing related to missing and unidentified person investigations. It compares DNA from missing persons and unidentified human remains with DNA from personal articles belonging to reported missing persons and DNA from relatives of missing persons. The MPDP services are provided at no cost to investigating law enforcement agencies and coroner’s offices. Parents and other biological relatives of missing persons are neither given an incentive to provide a DNA sample, nor will they be coerced or compelled to provide a sample. Further, DNA samples from relatives of missing persons are only searched against the DNA samples from missing persons and unidentified human remains to identify their missing relatives. They are never searched against any criminal or offender DNA databases. The DNA profiles from missing persons and unidentified human remains are uploaded to the database for searching and comparison with the DNA samples from missing person cases throughout the nation, not just in California. 

A fact sheet outlining the work of the Bureau of Forensic Services can be found here.

A video showing the MPDP family reference DNA collection process can be found here.


Attorney General Bonta Announces Charges Against an Organized Retail Crime Ringleader for Scheme Spanning 21 Counties and Nearly $8 Million in Losses

February 16, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,


SAN DIEGO – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced charges against the ringleader of an organized retail crime scheme that spanned 21 counties and involved an estimated $8 million worth of beauty products, as well as multiple members of her organized retail crime ring. The investigation was conducted by the California Department of Justice (DOJ), California Highway Patrol (CHP), Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Postal Inspection Service along with Ulta’s Loss Prevention Organized Retail Crime team and Sephora Representatives. It is alleged that the ringleader of the scheme paid more than 7 people to steal from Ulta Beauty stores, as well as other retail outlets. The ringleader would then sell the stolen cosmetic items on her Amazon storefront. 

“Organized retail crime has significant financial and safety implications for businesses, retailers, and consumers,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Today, we are addressing an audacious instance of organized retail theft and making it clear that such criminal activity will not be accepted in California. As the leading law enforcement official in our state, my dedication lies in actively pursuing and bringing to justice those who violate the law. Ending crime is a team effort.“ 

“The strong partnership that exists between law enforcement, prosecutors, and retailers is not just crucial – it’s the foundation in the fight against organized retail crime,” said California Highway Patrol Commissioner Sean Duryee. “The CHP’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force frequently collaborates with all stakeholders to identify solutions for reducing organized retail theft, identifying current trends, sharing best practices, and share actionable intelligence. This case is the perfect example of collaboration resulting in justice.” 

“Ulta Beauty is proud to partner with the California Department of Justice and Attorney General’s Office on this investigation, and we are grateful for their commitment to this important issue,” said Dan Petrousek, Senior Vice President of Loss Prevention at Ulta Beauty. “The rise in organized retail crime affects all retailers, consumers, and communities, and we believe it’s important to take action to deter the criminals perpetuating this problem. Not only does organized retail crime jeopardize the safety of our store associates and guests, but it also results in potentially unsafe or damaged products being resold online to consumers under false pretenses. We will continue to work closely with authorities to decrease the occurrence of retail theft that not only affects our stores but retailers nationwide.”

It is alleged that the ringleader sold the stolen goods on her online Amazon storefront for a fraction of the retail price and recruited many young women to enter makeup stores and commit bulk thefts of specific high-demand makeup product to supply her with inventory for her online store. The suspects responsible for these thefts were caught on surveillance and have been charged in this case as well. Upon a search of the ringleader’s residence, large amounts of makeup product was found stored, organized, and prepped for shipping, still in its manufacturer packaging. Retailers from Ulta and Sephora assisted in conducting inventory of an estimated $400,000 in recovered product during the recent searches of residences. Nationwide loss due to this multi-year theft operation is estimated at over $7.8 million. The charges, brought by the California Department of Justice, include Organized Retail Theft, Conspiracy, Receipt of Stolen Property, and multiple counts of Grand Theft. 

The thefts occurred in Alameda, Placer, Kern, Contra Costa, Orange, Los Angeles, Santa Clara, San Diego, Sacramento, San Mateo, Solano, Riverside, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Napa, Marin, Tulare, San Bernadino, Sonoma, Ventura, and Yolo counties. Pictures of the stolen goods are linked below:

Retail Theft Photo 1.png
Retail Theft Photo 2.png
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Retail Theft Photo 5.png

A copy of the complaint can be found here. 

Attorney General Bonta Announces APPS Felony Arrest, Seizure of Hundreds of Weapons Including Assault Rifles, Suspected Grenades, and Approximately One Million Rounds of Ammunition

February 15, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

 SAN FRANCISCO — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced the arrest of a suspect in Richmond with a large cache of illegal firearms, including assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and approximately one million rounds of ammunition. The suspect is alleged to be legally barred from owning weapons.

“This arrest demonstrates exactly why the Armed and Prohibited Persons System is vital for the safety of our communities,” said Attorney General Bonta. “In our efforts to retrieve guns from a prohibited individual, we found hundreds of allegedly illegal weapons and approximately one million rounds of ammunition. I am grateful for our Bureau of Firearms agents’ and local law enforcement partners' work in getting these illegal weapons out of the hands of this prohibited individual.”

On January 31, 2024, agents from the California Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Bureau of Firearms (BOF) Contra Costa Anti-Violence Support Effort (CASE) Task Force assisted by the BOF Dublin office and Contra Costa County Probation Officers served a search warrant at the suspect's residence in Richmond. During the search, several suspected grenades were discovered and the Walnut Creek Police Department Bomb Squad and Travis Air Force Base Bomb Squad were asked to respond, and the grenades were found to be inert. After a thorough search of the residence, DOJ agents seized approximately 11 military-style machine guns, 133 handguns, 37 rifles, 60 assault rifles, 7 shotguns, 20 silencers, 4 flare guns, 3,000 large capacity magazines, approximately one million rounds of miscellaneous caliber ammunition, and dozens of rifle receivers and pistol frames.

Visuals of the weapons seized can be found here: image 1, image 2, image 3, video

In 2006, California became the first state in the nation to establish a system for tracking firearm owners who fall into a prohibited status. The APPS database works to identify individuals who lawfully procured firearms and later became prohibited from owning or possessing them. In general, prohibited persons in APPS include individuals who were convicted of a felony or a violent misdemeanor, were placed under a domestic violence or other restraining order, or suffer from serious mental illness. The 2022 APPS Report was released in April of 2023 and the 2023 APPS Report will be released in March 2024. DOJ’s BOF serves the people of California through education, regulation, and enforcement actions regarding the manufacture, sale, ownership, safety training, and transfer of firearms and ammunition. BOF staff are leaders in providing firearms expertise and information to law enforcement, legislators, and the general public in a comprehensive program to ensure legitimate and responsible firearm possession and use by California residents. BOF is looking to hire additional special agents and more information on assessments for relevant job openings can be found on DOJ's website at


Attorney General Bonta Announces Massive Fentanyl Seizure of More Than 720,000 Pills in San Diego County

February 14, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

SAN DIEGO — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced a joint operation in San Diego County resulting in the felony arrest of a suspect and the seizure of 720,000 fentanyl pills. On February 9, 2024, Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Fentanyl Abatement & Suppression Team (FAST), in collaboration with the California Department of Justice San Diego Fentanyl Enforcement Program (SD FEP), the United States Border Patrol (USBP), and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department (SDSD), arrested an individual in Alpine after an investigation determined that the individual was driving a vehicle containing a large quantity of fentanyl.

“This massive bust is the largest fentanyl seizure since DOJ announced a partnership between our Fentanyl Enforcement Program and FAST Task Force,” said Attorney General Bonta. “I am grateful for the work of our special agents and law enforcement partners in getting these illicit and dangerous drugs off our streets. Whether through the seizure of illicit fentanyl through our ongoing enforcement efforts or by bringing California billions of dollars through our lawsuits and investigative efforts to hold the opioid industry accountable, the California Department of Justice is all-in when it comes to protecting California families from the dangers of fentanyl. There are countless lives being saved because of this important and difficult work.”

A total of 110 packages were removed from the vehicle with a total combined weight of 72.05 kilograms (158.5 pounds). The packages contained blue pills with “M30” markings and the initial investigation determined the pills contained fentanyl. Law enforcement estimated approximately 720,000 fentanyl pills were removed from the vehicle. The prosecution of this case will be handled by the California Department of Justice.

An image from the seizure can be found here.

The complaint can be found here.

HSI San Diego FAST is a multiagency task force comprised of state, local and federal partners and was first established in August 2022 focusing on the disruption and dismantlement of criminal organizations that smuggle and distribute fentanyl within San Diego County. HSI’s FAST targets fentanyl smuggling and distribution networks to counter the rising overdose rate and decrease the availability and accessibility of fentanyl.

In 2022, and in response to the fentanyl epidemic, the California Legislature and the Governor approved appropriation for the creation of the California Department of Justice, Division of Law Enforcement, Bureau of Investigation’s (BI) Fentanyl Enforcement Program (FEP). FEP works with local and federal law enforcement partners throughout the state to address the fentanyl crisis and get these dangerous drugs off California’s streets. The program is comprised of BI regional investigative teams placed in San Diego, Los Angeles, Dublin, and Sacramento. A Special Agent in Charge serves as the program manager and each team has a Special Agent Supervisor, five Special Agents, a Staff Services Analyst and a Crime Analyst I. Through collaboration with existing BI Task Forces, the FEP targets major fentanyl-trafficking criminal networks. The program leverages existing BI Task Forces and local and federal law enforcement partnerships to identify, investigate, disrupt, and dismantle these criminal networks. BI has the unique expertise, state-wide perspective and vertical prosecution model to impact fentanyl-trafficking criminal networks.

It is important to note that a criminal complaint contains charges that are only allegations against a person. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.


Attorney General Bonta Announces the Seizure of 30,000 Fentanyl Pills and Arrests of Three Drug Traffickers

January 26, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

SAN DIEGO — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced that the California Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Fentanyl Enforcement Program arrested and filed charges against three drug traffickers alleged to be responsible for bringing 30,000 fentanyl pills across the Mexico and California border. The investigation and arrests were a joint effort of the Fentanyl Enforcement Program and the Inland Crackdown Allied Task Force led by DOJ.  

“California is all-in when it comes to addressing fentanyl and protecting the safety of our communities,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Fentanyl is a threat to our communities as it is cheap, potent, and very lethal. Fentanyl can be disguised in common drugs, and just a small amount is enough to potentially kill a user. We urge Californians, especially our youth, to steer clear of this lethal drug and other drugs that could be laced with fentanyl. I am proud of the special agents working hard in our Fentanyl Enforcement Program, and confident that our investigative resources and legal support will help stop the flow of fentanyl into our state and keep it out of our communities.”

 Prosecution will be handled by DOJ’s Special Prosecutions Section. The criminal complaint alleges felony charges for the sale or transportation of a controlled substance and possession/purchase of a controlled substance for sale.

In April 2021, Attorney General Bonta established the statewide Fentanyl Enforcement Program that is designed to detect, deter, disrupt, and dismantle criminal fentanyl operations and prevent fentanyl from reaching California neighborhoods and communities. The program is housed in California DOJ’s Bureau of Investigation, which works with allied task forces, including local and federal law enforcement partners throughout California. This work has touched many communities through operations that remove fentanyl from numerous California communities and to advance legal actions to hold manufacturers and distributors accountable.

More information about Attorney General Bonta’s strategies to address the fentanyl crisis can be found at

A copy of the complaint can be found here.

It is important to note that criminal charges are only allegations against a person. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.


Attorney General Bonta Urges DEA to Reclassify Cannabis as Safe for Medical Use, Promote Research

January 12, 2024
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Federal changes would assist states with legal cannabis markets to protect public safety and support legal cannabis businesses
OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a multistate coalition of 12 attorneys general in sending a letter expressing support for the federal government’s efforts to evaluate and reschedule cannabis to allow for federal recognition of its medical and research value. The letter requests that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reclassify cannabis from a Schedule I controlled substance, which is reserved for substances with no accepted medical use and those considered highly addictive, to a Schedule III controlled substance, which recognizes its legitimate medical use and lower potential for abuse. This change would allow cannabis businesses in the 38 states with legal cannabis programs, including California, to take certain federal tax exemptions, and would allow for broader testing on the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis.
“Dozens of states have now either legalized cannabis or allowed for its medical use. It is high time the federal government reschedule this controlled substance to allow for medical use, open avenues for research opportunities, and provide legitimate businesses with recognition by the IRS,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Currently the federal government’s classification considers cannabis as equally dangerous and addictive as heroin or ecstasy; this is simply not the reality. There is ample evidence and data to support that cannabis has legitimate medical uses, and its current classification creates barriers for states that have legalized its use and regulated sale. I commend the Biden Administration for their efforts to request this evaluation and urge the DEA to approve this change to allow legitimate cannabis businesses to thrive and states to better protect the legal market.”
In the letter, the attorneys general urge the federal government to make this important change as its impacts will assist the states in administering their own legal programs by:

  • Lowering the tax burden for legitimate cannabis and cannabis-related businesses by authorizing them to take IRS deductions.
  • Providing cannabis users with fewer barriers to obtain public housing, immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, and legally possess firearms.
  • Supporting states with legal cannabis markets to better help businesses and protect public safety by disincentivizing the illicit cannabis market.   

A copy of the letter can be found here.