ROWLAND HEIGHTS >> Deputies who approached a man for a traffic violation last week ended up arresting him after discovering him with two loaded handguns, a shotgun, and expandable baton, pepper spray, a security guard badge and his brother’s ID in Rowland Heights, officials said.
Alejandro Raygoza, 25, of La Verne was arrested on suspicion of possession of concealed, loaded weapons during the incident, which unfolded about 8:20 a.m. on Aug. 24 along Fairway Drive near the 60 Freeway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said Thursday in a written statement.
Deputies first approached a car after noticing it was impeding traffic, according to the statement. As they spoke with the driver, they noticed he had a handgun holstered on his waist.
“The driver claimed to be a security guard and handed the deputies an ID,” the statement said. “When the deputies questioned the driver about the ID they discovered he had handed them his brother’s ID and he is not licensed to carry firearms.”
Inside the car, deputies found an additional handgun, a shotgun and the other items, authorities said. It was not clear why the suspect was driving around with the weapons.
PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
A sheriff’s SWAT team arrested a gang member and seized six guns, including an AK-47-style rifle equipped with high-capacity magazine, during an overnight raid at a Whittier home, authorities said Wednesday.
The bust took place about 10 p.m. at a home in the 12000 block of Howard Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Richardson said.
It was the result of an ongoing illegal weapons investigation by detectives assigned to the Operation Safe Streets task force, the sergeant said.
Knowing the suspect may be well-armed, investigators elected to have the risky search warrant conducted by specially trained SWAT deputies from the sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau, according to Richardson.
But the man did not put up a struggle, he said. After deputies cordoned off the home and ordered the man out of the home, he surrendered without a struggle shortly after midnight on Wednesday.
Deputies recovered six guns from the home, including an AK-47-style rifle with high-capacity magazines, another rifle and four handguns, Richardson said. Deputies also found rifle scopes and ammunition.
The man targeted in the warrant was arrested for weapons violations, he said. Several other people at the home were briefly detained, but not arrested.
Detectives withheld the suspect’s identity as they continued their investigation, Richardson said. He was described as a man in his late-30s.
PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
LA HABRA >> An observant tipster led to the arrest of a man carrying a loaded, concealed handgun at a La Habra sports bar early Sunday, police said.
The incident took place shortly before 1 a.m. at Hot Shots Sports Bar & Grill, 1500 E. La Habra Blvd., La Habra police Sgt. Jose Rocha said.
A witness called police to report seeing a patron at the bar who appeared to have a handgun concealed in his waistband, the sergeant said.
Officers responded to the bar and detained the man without incident, he said. They recovered a loaded handgun from the man.
Ramon Hernandez, 30, of La Habra was booked on suspicion of carrying a concealed and loaded firearm and released with a citation and court date, Rocha said.
PASADENA >> A Georgia man arrested with an assault rifle, a pistol, silencers, ammunition and a machete after he was caught urinating in public at a Pasadena Gold Line station earlier this week pleaded not guilty to a series of criminal charged on Friday, authorities said.
Prosecutors charged Christopher Harrison Goodine, 28, with two counts of possession of a silencer, two counts of possession of a high-capacity magazine, one count of possession of an assault weapon and one count of carrying a loaded, unregistered handgun, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
He denied the charges and was ordered back to the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court for a hearing on July 10, officials said.
Sheriff’s deputies first approached Goodine about 9 a.m. Wednesday after seeing him urinating in a planter outside the Sierra Madre Villa Metro Gold Line Station, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
A search of a duffel bag he was carrying revealed an AR-15-style rifle equipped with a silencer and 30-round magazines, a .40-caliber pistol fitted with a silencer and a high-capacity magazine, extra ammunition and a large machete.
It was unclear why he was carrying the weapons, or what he may have intended to do with them.
If convicted as charged, Goodine faces up to six years and four months in county jail, Ardalani said.
Goodine was initially being held in lieu of $10,000 bail, county booking records show. Prosecutors said they planned to seek an increase in bail to $1 million.
PASADENA >> What began as an investigation into public urination at a Pasadena Gold Line station on Wednesday led deputies to seize two guns, high-capacity magazines, suppressors and a machete from the suspect’s duffel bag, authorities said.
Deputies first approached a man about 9 a.m. after spotting a man relieving himself in a planter along the sidewalk outside the Sierra Madre Villa Gold Line Station at Madre Street and Foothill Boulevard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
The deputies confronted the man about the offense, and the suspect provided them with what turned out to be a false name, according to Deputy Katherine Zubo of the sheriff’s Transit Policing Division, who took part in the arrest. The man was carrying a duffel bag with him.
A search of the suspect’s bag turned up a loaded AR-15-style rifle, fitted wit with two 30-round magazines and a suppressor, as well as a .40-caliber pistol with a high-capacity magazine and a suppressor and a large machete-style knife, Sheriff Jim McDonnell said. The bag also contained a notebook full of writings and a Bible. He was booked for weapons violations.
“Marking on the handgun specified its use for restricted law enforcement or government only,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Investigators said they had not determined what the suspect, identified as 28-year-old Christopher Harrison Goodine of Union City, Georgia, may have ultimately intended to do with the weaponry.
“There is no intelligence to indicate there is a nexus to terrorism,” the sheriff’s said.
But he noted that any time a person is walking around with this type of armament in a duffel bag, “The outcome would not have been good no matter what he was going to do,” McDonnell said.
Goodine was believed to have boarded a train in Chinatown before exiting at the Sierra Madre Villa Station in Pasadena and encountering deputies, Zubo said.
Other than the public urination, Zubo said Goodine was not doing anything that would have attracted attention.
The deputy said she was glad she and her colleagues found the weapons before they became involved in a tragedy.
“Upon finding the bags, honestly, the first thing I felt was relief, because we got to this stuff first,” Zubo said.
McDonnell praised the actions of the involved deputies.
“Their proactive actions are commendable,” he said.
According to news reports and records, a man of the same name and birth month has faced similar allegations on the East Coast.
A Christopher Harrison Goodine, then-26 and a resident of New Rochelle, New York, was arrested in November of 2015 after trying to sneak into the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City while wearing body armor and carrying an empty gun holster and a ski mask, according to the New York Daily News. He told police at the time he wanted to take a shower. Information regarding the ultimate outcome of the case was not available Wednesday.
Records show the same man jailed in connection with the New York incident has multiple convictions around the country, including carrying a concealed weapon in Virginia in 2012, obstructing justice by force or threat in in Virginia in 2012 and obstructing police in Georgia in 2013. Records also show arrested in Florida and Washington, D.C.
Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said officials could not confirm whether the suspect arrested in Los Angeles County was the same man previously arrested on the East Coast.
According to county booking records, Goodine was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Friday in the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
— Staff writer Larry Altman contributed to this report.
INDUSTRY >> Detectives following up on an Industry attempted burglary investigation arrested two men and seized two pounds of methamphetamine, a large amount of marijuana, cocaine, three guns and stolen property while carrying out a search warrant in West Covina on Tuesday, authorities said.
The bust took place in the morning at a home in West Covina, Capt. Tim Murakami of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Industry Station said.
Detectives had obtained a search warrant from the home as part of an investigation into a burglary attempt that took place in Industry about a week earlier, the captain said. Would-be burglars had rammed a rental car into the roll-up door of a business in an unsuccessful attempt to break in.
While serving the warrant, investigators found more than they had bargained for.
Recovered was a sawed-off shotgun, two stolen handguns, about two pounds of methamphetamine, a large amount of marijuana, cocaine, stolen property and a ski mask, according to Murakami.
In addition, deputies seized equipment used to both grow marijuana, as well as process it into concentrated “honey oil,” he said.
Two men at the home were arrested on suspicion of multiple felony gun and drug charges, Murakami said. Their identities were not available Wednesday afternoon.
PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
PASADENA >> Police arrested an ex-convict with a loaded handgun who ran from them in Pasadena late Saturday, officials said.
Two officers were on patrol about 6:40 p.m. when they noticed a man riding a bicycle on the wrong side of the street at Mentone Avenue and Hammond Street, Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
As the officers approached the bicyclist, “he dumped his bike and tried to flee on foot,” he said.
But the officers quickly chased down the fleeing suspect, and found him in possession of a loaded revolver, according to the lieutenant.
Kameron Crabtree, 20, of Pasadena was arrested on suspicion of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, Mercado said. Crabtree is on felony probation as a result of a juvenile criminal case.
According to county booking records, Crabtree was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance.
POMONA >> A police task force carried out a raid at a Pomona home Friday, resulting in the seizure of six guns, 500 rounds of ammunition and five pounds of marijuana from a convicted felon.
Joseph Michael Cesena, 39, was boked on suspicion of being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm following his arrest, which took place shortly after noon at a home in the 2500 block of Cathy Avenue, Cpl. J Martinez of the Pomona Police Department’s Major Crimes Task Force said in a written statement.
“During the service of the warrant, Officers located six firearms in the residence in addition to over 500 live ammunition rounds (various calibers) and over five pounds of marijuana,” Martinez said.
The seized weapons included two pistols, a shotgun and three rifles.
San Bernardino Superior Court records show Cesena was convicted of felony domestic violence in 2011, and is therefore barred from possessing firearms or ammunition.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Cesena was released from custody Friday afternoon pending his initial court appearance after posting a $35,000 bond.
“It is the continued mission of the Major Crimes Task Force to seek out and apprehend individuals involved in gang and violent related criminal activity,” Martinez said. “The MCTF is dedicated to the safety of our citizens through the reduction of gang violence throughout our community by proactive and preventative enforcement.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the task force at 909-620-2148. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PASADENA >> Federal authorities on Sunday released a list of 57 guns, value at more than $50,000, seized by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents from the Sierra Madre home of a Pasadena police lieutenant in February.
ATF and Pasadena police have released little information about the ongoing investigation, during which the lieutenant has been placed on administrative leave.
ATF agents were seen seizing numerous gun cases from the lieutenant’s home during the Feb. 16 raid, however no arrests have been made, and no details of the investigation made public.
But the U.S. Department of Justice posted a list Sunday of the weapons seized during the search Sunday as part of a national listing of property targeted by federal officials for forfeiture.
According to the document, the arsenal seized from the home of Lt. Vasken Gourdikian included 34 pistols, valued at about $27,900, 21 rifles or rifle receivers, valued at about $20,450, and two shotguns, valued at about $2,600.
The cache of weapons represented a wide variety of guns, ranging from inexpensive and small-caliber pistols to pricey and powerful tactical rifles.
Gourdikian formerly served as the police chief’s adjutant and department spokesperson.
The lieutenant and the Pasadena Police Department have repeatedly declined to comment on the investigation.
The head of the ATF’s Los Angeles-area field office issued an advisory to Southern California law enforcement agencies in late-March, caution of a growing trend of illegal weapons dealing by police officers.
LOS ANGELES >> The head of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Los Angeles has cautioned Southland police departments to watch out for the “growing trend” of law enforcement officers engaging in unlicensed, illegal firearms dealing.
In an advisory distributed to area police and sheriff’s departments and dated March 31, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF in Los Angeles Eric D. Harden warned the agency has learned of an “emerging problem” with respect to law enforcement officers buying and then reselling guns, in possible violation of federal firearms law. The involved guns include many which are considered “off-roster” under California law, meaning that they can be purchased only by law enforcement officers and are not available to the general public.
“Recently, ATF has discovered that some law enforcement officers who do not have a (Federal Firearms License) are purchasing ‘off roster’ firearms and reselling those firearms to non-law enforcement entities for a profit,” Harden wrote.
Some of the weapons have turned up at crime scenes.
“In some instances, ATF has discovered officers who purchased more than 100 “off roster” firearms that were subsequently transferred to non-law enforcement individuals,” Harden continued. “Such transactions potentially constitute violations of federal firearms laws, to include dealing firearms without a FFL, and lying on a federal firearms form when purchasing said firearm — also known as “straw purchasing.”
Officials declined to provide details regarding the incidents described in the advisory.
ATF agents conducted a search at a Sierra Madre home of a Pasadena police lieutenant.
Officials reportedly seized numerous large gun cases from the home, however no arrests were made. Federal officials released no information about the raid, and Pasadena police have deferred to the ATF for comment.
ATF Spokeswoman Ginger Colburn said the agency could not discuss whether the February raid helped prompt the ATF advisory.
“As a matter of (Department of Justice) policy, ATF cannot comment on any ongoing investigation or confirm individuals involved,” she said.
The lieutenant remains on paid leave pending the investigation, Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said. He declined to comment further.
The involved lieutenant has also declined to comment.
While individuals can sell personal firearms without a federal firearms license, anyone engaged in the business of firearms sales must obtain a federal license, ATF spokeswoman Ginger Colburn said.
Harden also noted in the letter that filling out paperwork while purchasing a firearm to indicate the weapon personal use while intending to sell it or otherwise give to someone else is also a federal crime for anyone, including law enforcement.
A conviction for dealing in firearms without a license carried a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Making a false statement to a Federal firearms licensee when acquiring a firearm carried a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Harden’s advisory described the issue as a “growing trend.”
“ATF believed education is the most effective way to stop the growing trend of law enforcement officials engaging in the business of unlicensed firearms dealings,” Harden said in the advisory.
“It is our goal to educate, not investigate, to ensure law enforcement officials comply with federal law in order to avoid unnecessary public embarrassment to themselves and your Department/Agency,” he said.
But he added, “When presented with compelling evidence of flagrant violations of federal firearms laws, ATF is obligated to conduct a criminal investigation.”