This is a great article you got to read about The King’s Men in California buying and selling stolen guns and how little punishment there has ben for it. Long excerpt below. Click the link for the entire thing.
How the theft of 44 firearms from an L.A. gun store exploded into an LAPD scandal
NOV. 29, 2021 5 AM PT
Before it all came crashing down, Archi Duenas’ gun-stealing scheme was relatively simple, county prosecutors wrote in a memo. He just couldn’t go on vacation.
Duenas, manager of the gun store at the Los Angeles Police Academy, had been reprimanded over the years for tardiness and sloppy record keeping, but he never took time off, according to the memo. As the store’s closing supervisor, he was there each night to lock up — and hand count the inventory.
If someone else had been assigned that count, they might have discovered that dozens of guns were missing and that Duenas was stealing them and selling them for cash, prosecutors wrote in the memo. But since he was always there, the Los Angeles Police Revolver and Athletic Club was apparently none the wiser.
This went on for years, prosecutors wrote, facilitated by a lack of oversight and safety protocols that are considered standard in other gun stores.
Then, in February 2020, Duenas’ bosses told him he had accrued the “maximum allowable leave hours” and had to take time off, prosecutors wrote in the memo. When he did, another manager finally made the startling discovery: Boxes meant to have guns in them were actually empty.
The resulting investigation quickly led to Duenas’ arrest. But it also uncovered a larger scandal inside the LAPD: The clientele for Duenas’ stolen weapons included cops.
LAPD and L.A. County District Attorney records and interviews by The Times show that what started out as a probe into Duenas has spiraled in the last year and a half, spurring a cascade of allegations of criminal activity, misconduct and corruption on the part of officers and commanders.
There are also dueling claims by some of the accused officers that they have been scapegoated by overzealous investigators despite doing nothing wrong and being victims themselves — not only of Duenas’ deception, but of years of negligence on the part of the LAPD to ensure proper management of the gun store, which it directed officers to use.
That alleged neglect, according to a pending claim against the city from one officer, came despite the fact that the LAPD was aware for years of “prior negligence and mismanagement issues related to the sale, tracking, and documentation of firearms and firearm transactions” by gun store personnel.
The case raises red flags about the LAPD’s oversight of the gun store and its ability to investigate its own officers. It also offers an eye-opening window into the gun culture within the LAPD and the degree to which LAPD officers are allegedly profiting off the sale of firearms — including “off roster” guns that police officers have special access to despite their being declared unsafe for commercial sale in the state.
Investigators alleged LAPD officers, including several who are still on the job, knowingly purchased stolen weapons from Duenas, bought and sold much larger numbers of firearms in questionable ways, and dangerously stored loaded guns in places accessible to children, according to internal police records.
Top commanders, meanwhile, have been accused by the captain who initially oversaw the investigation of purposefully impeding the work of her detectives and assisting those in their crosshairs, including by forcing investigators to interview a high-ranking captain whom they suspected of wrongdoing before they were prepared to do so, and by ushering that same captain into his home — armed and in uniform — while investigators with a warrant were searching it, internal LAPD records show.
“The facts speak for themselves,” wrote Capt. Lillian Carranza, who oversees the LAPD’s commercial crimes division, in an April email to other top officials. “There have been several attempts to shut down this investigation.”
LAPD officials have denied that claim and said the investigation has been handled with the utmost integrity, with detectives following every lead and their work undergoing multiple levels of review.
No officers have been criminally convicted in the case, but one faces a gun charge in Long Beach — which he denies — and several have had criminal cases presented against them to prosecutors. Some of the investigations are ongoing.
This account of the sprawling investigation that began with the gun store thefts is based on dozens of internal LAPD documents reviewed by The Times from sources, including emails between top officials, investigative notes and case summaries, and court records in the case against Duenas. Duenas, who initially faced 25 criminal counts and more than a dozen years in prison, instead received probation in August after pleading no contest to felony grand theft of a firearm and a single misdemeanor count of illegally transferring a firearm.
It is also based on interviews, including with attorneys for the accused officers and police officials who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the case, as well as records obtained from Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón’s office.
According to the records, detectives in Carranza’s unit who were assigned to dig into the gun thefts traced some of the missing firearms to a group of LAPD officers who were in regular contact with Duenas and made cash deals to obtain weapons from him, including at substantially discounted prices and without proper paperwork or receipts.
In one email to commanders, Carranza described text messages between two of the involved officers that were obtained by investigators, in which one asked the other about the cost of obtaining a certain handgun and was told the gun normally sold for nearly $4,000, and sometimes $5,000 online.
“How much do you think my price will be?” LAPD Capt. Steve Embrich, the interested buyer, allegedly responded.
“For you 3200 cash out the door,” then-LAPD Det. Victor Brown allegedly replied, according to Carranza’s email.
Both Embrich and Brown were among the five law enforcement officers — four from the LAPD and one from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department — who were later found in possession of some of the stolen weapons, internal LAPD records show.
To date, investigators have recovered 34 of 44 firearms they now say were stolen, with the whereabouts of the remaining 10 unknown. Several of the recovered weapons came from the five law enforcement buyers after they were confronted about the thefts or had their homes searched.
Criminal cases alleging all five officers had knowingly purchased stolen firearms from Duenas were presented by LAPD investigators to prosecutors in Gascón’s office, officials confirmed. Investigators also presented evidence to prosecutors that two of the officers had loaded firearms accessible to children in their homes, according to the prosecutors’ memo, which was prepared in response to multiple cases presented by the LAPD in the matter.
Last month, prosecutors in that memo cited insufficient evidence to file charges for knowingly purchasing firearms against three of the officers: Capt. Jonathan Tom, who was found with one of the stolen guns; Sgt. Gus Murra, who was found with five of the stolen guns; and Brown, who was found with three of the stolen guns.