FRESNO, Calif. -
A federal grand jury returned an indictment today against three Fresno residents charging them in a firearm theft conspiracy.
Joseph Vasquez, 24; Eric Moore, 35; and Jose Arellano, 26, were charged with conspiring to steal firearms from a federal firearms licensee and possession of stolen firearms.
Moore and Arellano were also charged with being felons in possession of firearms.
“Criminals who possess firearms illegally have a propensity to commit violent crimes and instill fear through intimidation and violence,” stated Special Agent in Charge Riehl.
“ATF’s priority is to combat violent crime and by partnering with other law enforcement partners we are successfully targeting, disarming, and removing them from our communities.”
Fresno Chief of Police Jerry Dyer said, “Keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals is a top priority for the Fresno Police Department. We will continue to work closely with allied agencies and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to ensure these individuals are removed from society and placed where they belong, in prison.”
According to court documents, on August 14, 2012, Moore and Arellano drove from Fresno to Riverside County and broke into Turner’s Outdoorsman in Corona. They allegedly stole approximately 12 rifles and returned to Fresno.
Moore, Arellano and Vasquez began to sell the stolen firearms. Turner’s Outdoorsman is a federal firearms licensee. On August 28, 2012, Moore and Arellano went to Torrance and allegedly broke into the Turner’s Outdoorsman there. They stole approximately 42 firearms, brought them back to Fresno, and with Vasquez, began to sell them.
On September 25, 2012, law enforcement officers served multiple search warrants in Fresno, related to the stolen firearms. Among the items seized were three rifles, approximately $10,000 in cash, and photographs of individuals holding firearms.
On or about September 10, 2012, Vasquez knowingly possessed an HS Products, Model XE9 subcompact, caliber 9 mm pistol, which was stolen from Torrance Turner’s Outdoorsman on August 28, 2012.
The following guns were stolen in the two thefts:
Armalite .223-caliber rifle
2 - Bushmaster Firearms .223-caliber rifle
3 - Colt .223-caliber rifles
4 - Del-Ton Inc. 556-caliber rifles
DPMS Inc. 308-caliber rifle
DPMS Inc. 556-caliber rifle
3 - DPMS Inc. .223-caliber rifles
Hi-Point .40-caliber rifle
Hi-Point .45-caliber rifle
Hi-Point 9 mm rifle
2 - HS Products .40-caliber pistols
2 - HS Products .45-caliber pistols
4 - HS Products 9 mm pistols
J P Enterprises Inc. .223-caliber rifle
Lewis Machine and Tool Company 556-caliber rifle
Masterpiece Arms 9 mm rifle
Palmetto State Armory 556-caliber rifle
2 - PTR-91 308-caliber rifles
Romarm 762-caliber rifle
2 - Sig Sauer .45-caliber pistols
4 - Sig Sauer .40-caliber pistols
2 - Smith and Wesson 556-caliber rifles
2 - Smith and Wesson 9 mm pistols
3 - Smith and Wesson .357-caliber revolvers
3 - Smith and Wesson .38-caliber revolvers
3 - Smith and Wesson .44-caliber revolvers
Smith and Wesson .223-caliber rifle
Smith and Wesson .22-caliber revolver
The maximum penalty for being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of stolen firearms is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for conspiracy is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.