11/05/2011

Feds probe Calif. law enforcement weapon sales

Spokesman: Sheriff's deputies helped federal agents serve warrants

By Don Thompson
Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Federal agents issued search warrants and expect to file weapons charges against law enforcement officers from several Sacramento-area agencies, authorities said Friday.

The probe focuses on peace officers selling weapons that most civilians cannot legally buy and sell. Sacramento County Sheriff's Department spokesman Deputy Jason Ramos said. He said he did not know the types of weapons involved.

"There's an ongoing federal investigation into Sacramento-area law enforcement, some of whom are with the Sheriff's Department," Ramos said. "We weren't the only ones."

He would not say what other law enforcement agencies were investigated.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives served search warrants Thursday in cooperation with the Sheriff's Department and Sacramento Police Department, spokeswoman Helen Dunkel said. She also would not say what agencies were eyed but acknowledged some people under investigation are sworn peace officers.

"That is an ongoing investigation, and all I can tell you is we served search warrants yesterday and there will be some indictments in the future, the near future," she said.

Lauren Horwood, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento, said she was aware of the investigation but could not comment. Sacramento police spokesman Sgt. Andrew Pettit declined comment, referring calls to the ATF.

Ramos said sheriff's deputies helped federal agents serve warrants at several locations involving employees from other departments.

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones confirmed that one or more deputies are targets of the investigation but said he could not confirm their work assignment because of personnel privacy rules.

He said he could not give specifics because it is an ongoing investigation and because federal agents asked him not to comment.

"I can say that I have been aware of the investigation since the very early stages, and ATF has kept me fully apprised throughout," he said in an email to The Associated Press.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press

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