2 LASD deputies relieved of duty amid fraud scheme probe have close ties to Villanueva, sources say

ByJosh Haskell and Lisa Bartley via KABC logo
Sunday, September 25, 2022
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Two sheriff's department personnel were suspended from duty pending the outcome of an investigation into their alleged involvement in an unspecified "scheme to defraud the citizens" of L.A. County.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies served a search warrant in Monterey Park Friday at a gun shop called Caps Armory, which is frequented by law enforcement including deputies.

The owner - Roy Yamamoto - is a big supporter of Sheriff Alex Villanueva and even hosted a fundraiser for his re-election campaign last month.

The search warrant is connected to two female deputies who were relieved of duty Thursday, Deputy Gisel Del Real and Deputy Carrie Robles.

They were suspended from duty pending the outcome of an investigation into their alleged involvement in an unspecified "scheme to defraud the citizens of Los Angeles County," the department announced Thursday.

Sources tell Eyewitness News both women reported directly to Villanueva as part of his executive projects team.

As part of their duties, both deputies helped process applications permits to carry concealed weapons, also known as CCWs.

Villanueva has been a staunch supporter of making it easier to carry concealed weapons with a permit.

"We are probably looking at something in the neighborhood of ... 50,000 CCW permits in L.A. County for a population of 10 million," said Villanueva during a recent Facebook Live.

A search warrants was served Thursday at the home of Deputy Del Real.

In a statement, the sheriff's department said "while disappointed at the alleged conduct this investigation uncovered involving department personnel, Sheriff Alex Villanueva will not tolerate employee misconduct and expects all members of the department to hold themselves to the highest level of ethical and professional conduct."

Robles is close to the Villanueva family and refers to Villanueva's wife Vivian as her "mom."

Undersheriff Tim Murakami posted a video of Robles and Vivian Villanueva dancing together at a party on his Instagram.

The official LASD portrait photos of Del Real and Robles seen in this story were obtained by reporter Cerise Castle who has written extensively about the Sheriff's Department and its history of deputy gangs.

Deputy Robles has been in the news before.

In 2017, while she was on "patrol training," Robles was responding to a shots fired call when she ran a red light without turning on her siren and caused a chain collision crash.

Two boys were killed and several others were injured.

The district attorney declined to file criminal charges against Robles, but the county paid more than $22 million to settle the lawsuits.

Del Real was married to ex-LASD sergeant Eric Gonzalez when he was sentenced to eight years in prison back in 2017 for his role in the beating and framing of Gabriel Carrillo - a man who was visiting a relative in jail. Del Real and Gonzalez have since divorced.

Eyewitness News tried to speak with the owner of the Caps Armory gun shop, but he did not wish to comment.

We also reached out to Del Real and Robles who did not respond to ABC7's request for interviews.

UPDATE AND CORRECTION: Two LASD officials at the scene of the search warrant execution at Caps Armory told Eyewitness News that federal agents were part of that search warrant team that day. The ATF has since told Eyewitness News that's not true. The ATF says that LASD did reach out to the ATF's Crime Gun Intelligence Center with questions about firearm purchases related to their administrative investigation back in March, but ATF agents had no involvement in the criminal investigation or execution of the search warrant. The FBI also says they were not involved. The same two LASD officials told Eyewitness News that search warrants had been on the homes of both Deputy Carrie Robles and Deputy Gisel Del Real on September 1st. Eyewitness News has since learned that while a search warrant was served on the home of Deputy Del Real, no search warrant was served on the home of Deputy Robles.