GARDENA, Calif. (KABC) -- Two Gardena police officers have been indicted on allegations that they bought and sold about 100 guns without a license, including some normally available only to law enforcement.
The federal grand jury indictment alleges that officers Carlos Miguel Fernandez and Edward Yasushiro Arao purchased "off-roster" firearms not available to the general public and illegally ran businesses that resold the guns.
In some cases, the indictment alleges they knowingly sold weapons to individuals who were purchasing them on behalf of others who were not legally allowed to buy firearms.
In one such instance, the indictment says Oscar Morales Camacho Sr., 63, of Salinas, bought a gun for his son, who has a prior criminal conviction that bans him from owning a firearm.
Officials say Fernandez knew Camacho was not buying the gun for himself.
Camacho and his son, Oscar Maravilla Camacho Jr., 34, of Salinas, are also facing charges associated with the alleged straw purchase.
The indictment says Fernandez advertised his guns - mostly .38 caliber pistols - for sale on his Instagram account, going by the handle "the38superman." He allegedly bought .38 Colt handguns that were not available to the general public, but which could be bought by law enforcement officers, and then allegedly sold them to private buyers.
If convicted of all charges, Fernandez could face up to 15 years in federal prison and Arao could face up to 10 years.
Gardena Police Chief Edward Medrano said the officers have been placed on administrative leave and the department is cooperating with the federal investigation.
"We are deeply concerned about the case," Medrano said. "This type of conduct is inconsistent with our organizational values and the ethics of our profession and will not be tolerated by the Gardena Police Department."