Crime & Justice

SoCal cops charged with selling guns on the black market

A Gardena Police Department sign. (via NBC L.A.)
A Gardena Police Department sign. (via NBC L.A.)
NBC L.A.

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Federal prosecutors announced Monday that they've charged two members of the Gardena Police Department with illegally purchasing guns and selling about 100 firearms on the black market.

Carlos Miguel Fernandez, 42, and Edward Yasushiro Arao, 47, were arrested Friday for allegedly selling the weapons, mostly .38-caliber pistols. They pleaded not guilty.

Last month, a federal grand jury indicted Pasadena Police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian for illegally selling more than 100 firearms between March 2014 and February 2017. Gourdikian also pleaded not guilty.

According to the latest indictment, Fernandez advertised firearms for sale on Instagram, using the handle “the38superman.” As a police officer, he was able to purchase Colt .38 handguns that were not available to the general public, known as “off-roster” weapons. Prosecutors say he sold dozens of these guns through private-party transfers.

Arao, who was the CEO of Ronin Tactical Group, which was a federal firearms licensee, similarly advertised guns on Instagram, according to the indictment. It said he would obtain off-roster weapons by transferring them to himself from Ronin’s inventory.