LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A Pasadena police lieutenant was arrested Friday on federal charges of selling more than 100 guns without a license, officials said.
Lt. Vasken Kenneth Gourdikian, 48, surrendered to U.S. authorities just one day after an unsealed federal indictment accused him of engaging in unlicensed sales of 107 weapons between March 2014 and Feb. 2017, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Gourdikian was also indicted for allegedly making false statements during two gun purchases. Prosecutors say he claimed he was the actual buyer of the weapons even though he had already agreed to sell them to someone else.
He was also charged with possession of an unregistered, modified Sig Sauer model MPX 9mm short-barreled rifle.
In a court appearance Friday afternoon, Gourdikian pleaded not guilty to the charges and was expected to be released on $100,000 bail.
Gourdikian has been on paid administrative leave from the department since Feb. 16, 2017, according to Pasadena spokeswoman Lisa Derderian.
According to the indictment, Gourdikian repeatedly requested law-enforcement waivers of 10-day waiting periods for the purchase of weapons and sold so-called “off roster” weapons that are only available to law enforcement officers or military personnel.
Authorities say he sold guns via the Calguns website, but despite not being a “licensed importer, licensed manufacturer or licensed dealer of firearms,” Gourdikian allegedly advertised “off roster” weapons.
“In these days of escalating gun violence, it is important to enforce our firearms laws vigorously,” said U.S. Attorney Nicola T. Hanna said. “Those who sell guns illegally need to be held accountable, especially those who abuse a position of public trust.”
KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen showed video from a raid on Gourdikian’s Sierra Madre home February of last year.
The video showed more than 60 guns being confiscated including the aforementioned unregistered short-barreled rifle a weapon in the same class as a machine gun.
Before the raid, Gourdikian had a high-profile job in the department. He was described as the chief’s right hand. He also served as the department’s spokesperson.
Nguyen knocked on Gourdikian’s door but no one answered.
Gourdikian’s attorney, Mark Geragos, said, ‘This indictment is misguided and truly an abuse of the supposed discretion of the government. This case will be vigorously contested.”
Following his arrest, police said he was now on leave without pay.
A trial date has been tentatively set for April 24. If convicted on all charges, Gourdikian faces up to 35 years in prison.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)