A former Gardena police officer was sentenced Friday to two years of probation for scheming to purchase “off-roster” firearms not available to the general public and then illegally reselling the weapons for profit.
Edward Yasushiro Arao, 51, of Eastvale, was also ordered to serve 100 hours of community service and pay a $15,000 fine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
He was convicted in October of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license and engaging in an unlicensed firearms business.
Arao and his co-conspirator, former Gardena police Officer Carlos Fernandez, 46, of Norwalk, exploited their positions as police officers to operate the illegal gun-selling business, federal prosecutors said.
As part of the scheme, Arao purchased the firearms — all Colt .38 Super-caliber handguns that were not available to the general public, but which could be legally purchased by law enforcement officers — through Ronin Tactical Group, a federal firearms licensee that Arao owned and operated.
Arao then transferred the guns to himself individually from the inventory of Ronin Tactical and resold 41 of them to non-law enforcement officers. Similarly, Fernandez obtained multiple off-roster weapons, which he resold to the general public through Ronin Tactical. Through messages on Instagram and via other means, Arao and Fernandez negotiated the prices and terms of firearm sales, and then delivered the guns and accepted payment, often in cash.
In a previous trial in November 2019, a Los Angeles federal jury found Arao guilty of the same two felony charges and found Fernandez guilty of conspiracy, selling firearms to a convicted felon, engaging in an unlicensed firearms business, and making false statements in federal firearms licensing paperwork.
In March 2020, Fernandez was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison. At the same time, a new trial was ordered for Arao after the judge determined the two defendants should not have been tried together.
Previously in the case, six other defendants who illegally purchased firearms from Arao and Fernandez pleaded guilty and were sentenced, with two of those defendants being ordered to serve time in federal prison.