Law enforcement has arrested six Orange County residents charged in an indictment alleging three defendants conspired to traffic more than two dozen firearms – including 12-gauge shotguns and AR-style rifles – while other defendants, including a convicted sex offender, illegally possessed firearms and ammunition.
The 11-count indictment, unsealed today, charges seven defendants with multiple federal felonies, including conspiracy to sell firearm without a license, and selling firearms without a license. The arrested defendants are scheduled to make their initial court appearances this afternoon in United States District Court in Santa Ana.
The indictment is the result of a joint investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Costa Mesa Police Department.
Over the course of the six-week investigation, law enforcement seized a total of 68 firearms – 30 of which were “ghost guns” or firearms that bore no serial numbers – more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition, and 1.3 pounds of methamphetamine.
According to the indictment, between August 21 and September 18, the defendants illegally possessed and some conspired to illegally sell firearms such as a .40-caliber Glock pistol, a .243-caliber Savage Arms rifle, and a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun, among other weapons, some of which bore no serial numbers.
Pedro Javier Villalobos, 22, of Santa Ana, arranged to sell firearms to customers and eventually received a fee for brokering firearms sales, according to the indictment. The indictment further alleges that Villalobos enabled defendants Michael Rivera Delgado, 38, a.k.a. “Player,” of Anaheim, and Rosember Jiménez Jr., 29, a.k.a. “Junior,” of Santa Ana, and others to sell firearms to customers without being federally licensed.
For example, on September 3, Villalobos allegedly agreed to sell firearms to a customer, who in fact was an undercover agent. The following day at Villalobos’s home, Jiménez allegedly sold the agent a Mossberg shotgun, a Spike’s Tactical rifle, and an AR-type rifle bearing no serial number, for $4,800. That same day, Villalobos accepted $300 from the agent for brokering the sale of the three firearms from Jiménez, the indictment alleges.
In addition to the unlawful firearms dealing charges, the indictment alleges that other defendants, including Jiménez, were convicted felons in possession of firearms and ammunition. Jiménez’s criminal history includes convictions for unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and aggravated assault on a firefighter or peace officer.
The statutory maximum penalties for unlicensed firearms dealing and being a felon in possession of firearms or ammunition is 10 years in federal prison. A conviction on a conspiracy charge carries a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.
This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California.