Thursday, March 22, 2007

ATF Seizes Guns from American Hay

By Lenny Roberts
Two Southern California men were arrested Thursday on federal charges that allege they sold firearms and ammunition to straw buyers who were purchasing the weapons on behalf of convicted felons and other prohibited persons, said John A. Torres, Special Agent in Charge, Los Angeles Field Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
According to an affidavit filed in this case, during a five-year period, 897 firearms linked to a crime or illegally possessed were traced back to Boulevard Sales & Service in Compton and another Boulevard Sales store located in American Hay and Mercantile in Oak View. Of these traced guns, at least 29 were connected to murder investigations, ATF agents say.
Authorities executed federal search and seizure warrants at the retail stores in Compton and Oak View Thursday. At the stores, hundreds of firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition were seized. Arrested without incident at their residences were Stephen Patrick Virgilio, 36, of Huntington Beach, and Carlos Rodriguez Castellanos, 52, of Downey. Locally, prosecutors allege that a convicted felon, acting as a confidential informant, visited the Oak View store on Feb. 8, identified himself as having a non-violent felony on his record, and allegedly asked an employee if his girlfriend could buy a gun.
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