Seven people have been indicted on federal charges alleging they took part in firearms trafficking out of Orange County, illegally possessing or dealing weapons such as untraceable “ghost guns,” authorities said.
Before an 11-count indictment was unsealed Thursday, law enforcement officials seized 68 firearms — including 30 illegal “ghost guns” bearing no serial numbers — over a six-week federal investigation, according to prosecutors. More than 2,000 rounds of ammunition and 1.3 pounds of methamphetamine was also taken into custody.
According to prosecutors, three of the defendants allegedly conspired to traffic firearms such as 12-gauge shotguns and AR-style rifles, dealing a total of more than two dozen guns, while others are accused of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. The crimes allegedly occurred between Aug. 21 and Sept. 18.
So far, six of the defendants have been arrested while another remains at large. Those in custody were expected to appear in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana later Thursday afternoon.
Among the guns illegally possessed or dealt are a .40-caliber Glock pistol, a .243-caliber Savage Arms rifle and a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun, authorities said.
Pedro Javier Villalobos, 22, of Santa Ana, was responsible for arranging the gun sales, receiving a brokering fee for doing so, and enabled co-defendants Michael Rivera Delgado, 38, a.k.a. “Player,” of Anaheim and Rosember Jiménez Jr., 29, a.k.a. “Junior,” of Santa Ana to sell the guns without being federally licensed, according to prosecutors.
Jiménez was described by federal prosecutors as a felon who has been convicted for possession of firearms and ammunition in the past. He has also been convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and aggravated assault on a firefighter or peace officer.
Convictions for dealing of unlicensed firearms or being a felon in possession of firearms or ammunition can carry a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison, prosecutors said. A conviction for conspiracy carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.