Two Sacramento County Sheriff's Department deputies living in Elk Grove have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges they repeatedly sold to a gun dealer high-capacity guns not available to the public.
The felony charges against 31-year-old Ryan McGowan and 42-year-old Thomas Lu were announced Friday.
According to a press release, peace officers have access to "off-roster" guns with a higher capacity that aren't sold to the public. They're allowed to re-sell those "off-roster" guns, but can't make a business from repeatedly buying and selling them, according to a press release.
Since 2008, McGowan has purchased 41 handguns and sold 25 to private parties, according to the press release; Lu has bought 27 "off-roster" guns and sold 23, the press release states. United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner said both officers are charged with engaging in a firearms business without a license, while a gun dealer who allegedly bought from them and then re-sold the guns is charged with lying on a federal form asking “Are you actual buyer of this firearm(s) listed on the form?”
Robert Snellings, a 61-year-old Rancho Murieta resident, bought guns from the deputies, according to the press release. Sacramento resident Ulysses Simpson Grant Early IV, 36, allegedly purchased an "off-roster" gun from Snellings.
Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said McGowan and Lu "disgraced" themselves and the department.
“Unfortunately, these two made the decision to abuse the authority that comes with the privilege of wearing a badge," Jones said in the press release. "Such conduct cannot–and will not–be tolerated."
Wagner also criticized the two deputies.
“When law enforcement officers misuse their badges to funnel dangerous weapons to the highest bidder, they compromise the safety of the public," the federal attorney said in the press release. "By putting personal profit ahead of public safety, they undermine the very essence of their duty."
The Sacramento Bee reported that both deputies were suspended: Lu has since quit while McGowan is trying to save his job.