A federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment Friday against a Corona attorney and former Rialto police officer allegedly caught with a cache of illegal weapons, which included assault weapons and a hand grenade carried in a holster.
Sergio Lopez de Tirado, 43, has been in custody since his arrest in the federal case on Feb. 1, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Ciaran McEvoy said in a written statement. He faces two counts of possession of unregistered firearms, two counts possession of firearms without serial numbers and one count of possession of a fraudulently made government seal.
A Riverside County Sheriff’s Department deputy approached Lopez de Tirado on Dec. 21 after spotting him sitting in the passenger seat of a pickup truck, which was parked blocking a driveway with its doors open in Norco, officials said.
He appeared intoxicated as he exited the truck and told the deputy he was a former Rialto Police Department officer,” according to the statement.
“Lopez de Tirado was found to have multiple loaded firearms, a knife in a sheath on his person and a hand grenade in a holster under his arm,” McEvoy said.
Deputies then turned their attention to the truck, where they found multiple loaded guns, including an unregistered 9mm semi-automatic rifle, an AR015-type rifle and two unregistered firearm silencers, authorities allege.
Deputies arrested Lopez de Tirado, who was soon released from custody on bail pending legal proceedings, the DOJ said.
California Highway Patrol officers then encountered Lopez de Tirado during the early-morning hours of Jan. 30, authorities said. He and a passenger were allegedly found sitting in a pick-up truck parked facing the wrong direction on the right shoulder of the 15 Freeway in Corona.
An officer ordered Lopez de Tirado’s truck impounded after discovering his license had been suspended, McEvoy said.
“A search of the truck produced a loaded and unregistered short-barrel AR-type semiautomatic rifle,” he said.
Details regarding Lopez de Tirado’s employment with the Rialto Police Department were not available Friday evening.
If convicted as charged, Lopez de Tirado could face up to 45 years in federal prison. He’s scheduled to appear in federal court in Los Angeles to answer to the charges on Feb. 19.