In the pre-dawn hours Wednesday, federal and local law enforcement officers raided a $7 million, 8,200-square-foot, five-bedroom home in the ultra-wealthy Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles’s “Platinum Triangle.” Local police and federal authorities seized what a spokesman said was a “stash” of more than 1,000 firearms of different types, and arrested a suspect later identified as Girard Damien Saenz, 56.
“The Los Angeles Police Department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives made a joint search on a warrant granted because of a tip that a person in the home was “conducting illegal firearms transactions outside the scope of the federal firearm license that the individual possesses,” according to an ATF spokeswoman.
Saenz is expected to be arraigned Thursday morning. That apparently won’t be on federal charges but rather for violating California’s Penal Code 30600, a statute that prohibits the sale, distribution, manufacture, or transport of military-style assault rifles and .50 cal rifles, the latter being frequently custom-made one-of-a-kind weapons.
Upon conviction, the penalty for violating the law constitutes a felony punishable by four, six, or eight years imprisonment. What specific provision the suspect allegedly violated is unknown. But together with the guns and about a thousand rounds of ammunition, police found firearms manufacturing equipment. If the person is charged and convicted, every gun in that cache of firearms will be permanently confiscated and possibly melted down.
Reporters from the Los Angeles Times wrote Wednesday evening:
Law enforcement sources said that multiple locations were searched Wednesday. A second home was searched on North Bunker Hill Avenue in Los Angeles.
The Bel-Air mansion is described as a hoarder’s paradise. Court records show that the property is owned by Cynthia Beck, who has three daughters with J. Paul Getty’s son Gordon Getty. Beck bought the property in January 2001, but it remains unclear what, if any, connection she had to Wednesday’s events. Beck could not be reached for comment.
According to the website Heavy.com, Beck and Saenz own the raided home together as well as another home together with two of her daughters.
Gordon Getty, now 85, sold Getty Oil to Texaco for $10 billion in the mid-’80s. He and Beck were never married, and their affair went wildly public in the tabloids in 1999. He has acknowledged their three children as his. He is still married to Ann Gilbert Getty, whom he wed in 1964.
Video and photos show officers stacking weapons of similar kinds in piles. These include everything from what appear to be semi-automatic military assault-style rifles, shotguns, older lever-action and bolt-action hunting rifles, semi-automatic pistols, and hundreds of revolvers, a few of which appear to be Civil War-era antiques or modern replicas of such antiques.
Except for the assault weapons, most of these firearms appear to be legal in California, assuming they were acquired legally and have not been modified in ways that bring them into conflict with state or federal law. It is not illegal to possess vast numbers of firearms.
A long list of assault weapons, however, are banned in California under the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989 and its amendments, unless they were registered soon after the law was passed by the Democrat-controlled legislature and signed by Republican Gov. George Deukmejian.
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