LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A federal jury found two Gardena police officers guilty of conspiring to buy “off-roster” firearms not available to the public, then illegally reselling them for profit.
Carlos Miguel Fernandez, 44, of Norwalk, and Edward Yasashiro Arao, 49, of Eastvale, were convicted Wednesday of conspiracy to deal firearms without a license. Fernandez was also found guilty of selling firearms to a convicted felon and making false statements about the sales on federal firearms licensing paperwork.READ MORE: Torrance Woman Arrested In Mistaken ID Revenge Murder Of NorCal Rapper
During a six-day trial, evidence showed Fernandez advertised the guns for sale on his Instagram account with the username “the38superman,” according to the ATF. Arao, who was CEO of Ronin Tactical Group, a federal firearms licensee, also advertised off-roster guns on his company’s Instagram account that he then personally resold, according to trial evidence.
Both Fernandez and Arao marketed firearms at gun shows, but neither was licensed individually to engage in the business of dealing in firearms, according to the ATF.READ MORE: Mother-Daughter Team Win Decade-Long Battle To Bring Sidewalks To San Bernardino County Community Of Muscoy
ATF officials say that during the trial, it was demonstrated how Fernandez and Arao exploited their positions as police officers to profit at selling guns illegally. In one instance, Fernandez purchased Colt .38-caliber handguns not available to the general public but were available for purchase by law enforcement officers and sold dozens of them through private-party transfers.
Fernandez also negotiated and arranged the sale of 10 firearms to a convicted felon, Oscar Maravilla Camacho Jr., 36, of Salinas, between May 2016 and December 2017. Transferring the weapons to Camacho Jr. was a violation of federal law, according to the ATF.
Fernandez and Arao are scheduled to be sentenced on March 2, 2020. Fernandez faces a statutory maximum sentence of 35 years in federal prison, while Arao faces a sentence of 10 years.MORE NEWS: UCLA Basketball Star Johnny Juzang Declares For NBA Draft, But Intends To Retain Collegiate Eligibility
It’s not clear if either Fernandez or Arao remain employed with the Gardena Police Department.