LAPD/ATF Task Force Results in Numerous Arrests NR18181ma

July 5, 2018

Los Angeles Police Department and the Bureau
of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Task Force Results in
Numerous Arrests

Los Angeles: In January of 2018,
Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detectives assigned to
Hollywood Area and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives (ATF) began a joint investigation related to the sale of
assault rifles.

“This was a six-month investigation into Los Angeles-based gang
members and their associates,” said the ATF Los Angeles Field
Division Special Agent in Charge Bill McMullan. “The investigation
resulted in more than 45 firearms, high-capacity magazines, and
pounds of methamphetamine taken off the streets. Search warrants at
the end of the investigation resulted in the seizing of firearms
manufacturing tools and materials used to build AR-style rifles and
pistols from unfinished lower receiver kits. This is a common trend
ATF is seeing in SoCal amongst gangs. Criminals building their own
guns since they are prohibited from buying guns legally. I am proud
this collaboration of resources between law enforcement partners
made a significant impact for this community.”

Between January and June of 2018, LAPD detectives and ATF agents
conducted over a dozen undercover operations focusing on the
manufacturing of pistol and assault weapons known as “ghost guns.”
“Ghost guns” are firearms manufactured without serial numbers and
require no background checks for purchase, making them undetected
firearms to law enforcement authorities. Los Angeles has seen an
increase in the number of “ghost guns”, particularly in the form of
semi-automatic 9mm pistols. Detectives often recover “ghost guns”
associated with criminal activity.

The involved suspects were engaged in the illegal possession,
transportation, and sales of “ghost guns” and assault weapons in
the Hollywood area. The investigation yielded a total of 50
firearms, a firearm suppressor, numerous high capacity magazines,
ammunition, assault rifle manufacturing equipment and parts, over 3
pounds of methamphetamine, vehicles, body armor and money.

Most of the firearms recovered are known as “ghost guns” and have
no serial numbers for tracking. Most of the firearms recovered were
AR-15 type rifles in various configurations. One AK-47 rifle and
one SKS rifle were also recovered.

Ten suspects with ties to an East Los Angeles criminal street gang
were identified as a result of the investigation. State search
warrants and arrest warrants were obtained and served by LAPD
Hollywood Division detectives and officers, ATF, GND Narcotics
Abatement Unit and the LAPD Gun Unit. Additionally, the LA County
Probation Department and the LA County Department of Children and
Family Services Multi-Agency Response Team (MART) assisted with
their technical expertise. The investigation focused on the sale of
illegal firearms and narcotics in the Hollywood area of Los
Angeles. The primary suspect, Enrique Saucedo Jr was involved in
assault rifle transportation, distribution and sales in Hollywood
and San Fernando Valley.

On June 29th, 2018, search warrants were served, leading to the
recovery of additional assault rifles, firearms, high capacity
magazines and methamphetamine. Nine suspects were arrested. On July
4, 2018, the last suspect, Luis Vasquez was taken into custody by
LAPD Operations South Bureau – Gang Enforcement Detail. There are
no additional outstanding suspects.

In total, 47 felony counts were filed with by the Los Angeles
District Attorney. The charges include 30600(a)PC –
Manufacture/Transportation/Sales of Assault Rifles, 33410PC –
Possession of a Silencer and 183(a)(1)PC – Criminal