A former Rialto police officer who was working as a lawyer is expected to plead not guilty Tuesday to federal charges alleging he possessed a fake FBI credential, a hand grenade, silencers and several illegal firearms, including a loaded AR-type semiautomatic rifle.
Sergio Lopez de Tirado, 43, of Corona was named in a five-count indictment Friday that charges him in Los Angeles federal court with two counts each of possession of unregistered firearms and possession of firearms without a serial number, and a single count of possession of a fraudulently made government seal, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
A Riverside County sheriff’s deputy found Lopez de Tirado on Dec. 21 asleep in the passenger’s side of a pickup truck that was parked with its doors wide open blocking a driveway in Norco, prosecutors allege.
According to a criminal complaint previously filed in this case, Lopez de Tirado allegedly appeared intoxicated, had difficulty stepping out of the truck and identified himself as former “Rialto PD.” Lopez de Tirado is alleged to have had possession of multiple loaded firearms, a knife in a sheath on his person, and a hand grenade in a holster under his arm.
A subsequent search of the truck allegedly produced a fraudulent FBI credential. The search also produced multiple firearms, including an unregistered MK9 9mm semiautomatic rifle and two unregistered firearm silencers, according to the affidavit in support of the complaint. All of the firearms recovered from the vehicle are alleged to have been loaded, including the AR-type rifle, with a mounted silencer. Lopez de Tirado was taken into state custody and subsequently released after posting bail.
During the early morning hours of Jan. 30, a California Highway Patrol officer found Lopez de Tirado and a passenger in a pick-up truck parked the wrong way on the right shoulder of Interstate 15 in Corona, the affidavit alleges.
The officer determined that Lopez de Tirado’s driver’s license had been suspended and ordered his truck impounded, prosecutors said. A search of the truck allegedly produced a loaded and unregistered short barrel AR-type semiautomatic rifle, according to the affidavit.
If found guilty, Lopez de Tirado — who has been in federal custody since he was arrested pursuant to the criminal complaint on Feb. 1 — would face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for each of the four firearm-related charges and five years on the fraudulent government seal possession charge. according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.