As part of an undercover operation, DOJ Special Agents seized ghost guns and other firearms from man banned for life from possessing them
SAN BERNARDINO — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced the arrest of and charges filed against a San Bernardino man found in possession of illegal firearms and ammunition, despite being previously convicted of a felony and banned from owning firearms. The individual was on parole after serving a sentence of 32-years to life for a violent felony and is prohibited from owning and possessing firearms and ammunition. California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms Special Agents observed the suspect purchasing an AR-15 style ghost gun kit at a San Bernardino gun show. After obtaining a search warrant, agents located the illegal weapons and ammunition at the suspect’s home.
“Across California, we are working day in and day out to make our communities safer,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Whether it is a widespread APPS sweep, cross-referencing gun purchases in individual cases, or conducting undercover work, these strategies are critical to preventing gun violence in California. I am grateful for the efforts of our hard-working DOJ Special Agents whose work resulted in the charges we are announcing today.”
Agents recovered from the defendant’s possession an unserialized handgun, unserialized short-barreled rifle, ammunition, and an AR-15 style ghost gun kit. The defendant is charged with two felony counts of felon in possession of a firearm, one felony count of possession of a short-barreled rifle, and a felony count of unlawful possession of ammunition. Charges were filed in the San Bernardino Superior Court.
Protecting California communities and addressing gun violence remains one of Attorney General Bonta’s top priorities. In February 2022, Attorney General Bonta announced a five-day sweep with law enforcement partners targeting individuals in 51 cities in Los Angeles County listed as prohibited from possessing firearms in DOJ’s APPS database, and resulted in 13 arrests, as well as the seizure of 114 firearms, including assault weapons, ghost guns, lower receivers, handguns, rifles and shotguns, as well as 49,148 rounds of ammunition, and 87 high-capacity magazines. And in January 2022, APPS agents from throughout the state consolidated their investigative efforts in the Bay Area and worked with local and federal law enforcement to engage in a three-day sweep, resulting in the seizure of 30 firearms and eight arrests.
In 2006, the State of California became the first and only 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.
DOJ’s Bureau of Firearms (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. The Bureau of Firearms is looking to hire additional special agents and more information on assessments for relevant job openings can be found on the California Department of Justice website at oag.ca.gov/careers/exams.
A copy of the complaint can be found here.