Feds probe Sacramento law enforcement weapon sales

AP News
Posted: Nov 04, 2011 8:27 PM
Feds probe Sacramento law enforcement weapon sales

Federal agents issued search warrants and expect to file weapons charges against law enforcement officers from several Sacramento-area agencies, authorities said Friday.

The probe focuses on peace officers selling weapons that most civilians cannot legally buy and sell, Sacramento County Sheriff's Department spokesman Deputy Jason Ramos said. He said he did not know the types of weapons involved.

"There's an ongoing federal investigation into Sacramento-area law enforcement, some of whom are with the Sheriff's Department," Ramos said. "We weren't the only ones."

He would not say what other law enforcement agencies were investigated.

A Sacramento Police Department employee is among those under investigation, said police spokesman Sgt. Andrew Pettit. He would not say if the employee is a sworn officer or is on administrative leave.

Roseville police Sgt. Cal Walstad confirmed that one of his department's officers was placed on administrative leave Thursday as a result of the investigation but would not give other details. Roseville is 20 miles northeast of Sacramento in neighboring Placer County.

California Highway Patrol spokeswoman Fran Clader said a CHP officer is considered a witness in the investigation, but not a suspect.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives served search warrants Thursday in cooperation with the Sacramento Sheriff's Department and Sacramento Police Department, ATF spokeswoman Helen Dunkel said. She also would not say what agencies were eyed but acknowledged some people under investigation are sworn peace officers.

"That is an ongoing investigation, and all I can tell you is we served search warrants yesterday and there will be some indictments in the future, the near future," she said.

Lauren Horwood, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento, said she was aware of the investigation but could not comment.

Ramos said sheriff's deputies helped federal agents serve warrants at several locations involving employees from other departments.

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones confirmed that several deputies are on administrative leave as targets of the investigation but would not say how many nor were they worked in his department, citing the ongoing investigation and personnel privacy rules.

"I can say that I have been aware of the investigation since the very early stages, and ATF has kept me fully apprised throughout," he said in an email to The Associated Press.