Deputy to plead guilty to building assault rifle

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A Los Angeles County deputy has agreed to plead guilty to illegally building an assault rifle — the first plea deal among 20 officials charged or indicted in an ongoing federal investigation of the Sheriff's Department.

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that Richard White Piquette admitted in federal court documents that he manufactured a .223-caliber rifle with an eight-inch barrel. The U.S. attorney's office says under federal law, the rifle's barrel length should have been at least 16 inches.

The charge carries up to 10 years in prison. Piquette could formally enter his plea as early as this week.

Piquette also admitted possessing other guns, including banned assault weapons. He was not charged in connection with those weapons, but his admission could affect his sentence.

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