Temple City father, adult daughter found with stockpile of illegal weapons, ammunition

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Thursday, February 22, 2018
Temple City man, daughter found with stockpile of illegal weapons
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A man and his adult daughter were charged after authorities found an alarming arsenal of illegal weapons and ammunition in their Temple City home.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Temple City man who is on a California list banning him from owning a firearm was charged with seven felony counts of possessing assault rifles and ammunition.

Authorities arrived at Steven Ponder's house planning on collecting four weapons but found 28 guns. Eleven of the 28 were "ghost guns," which can't be traced, because according to Attorney General Xavier Becerra, they were assembled at home.

Thirteen of the 18 were AR-15 style weapons similar to those used in last week's Florida school shooting. Authorities also seized 65,000 rounds of ammunition.

"We're going to grieve, we're going to send our sympathies, but we're going to do something, and in California we're doing something. We're collecting weapons: 18,000 of them in the last five or so years from people who lost their rights to possess weapons. We're the only state in America that does that," said Becerra, speaking about a specialized unit in the state's Bureau of Firearms which is part of the California Attorney General's Office.

"They get a list of individuals who have lost their rights to possess a firearm, and they go out in a team. It has to be a team because it's as dangerous a job as you can find," Becerra said.

L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said they don't know how Ponder planned to use the weapons or why he had such a large amount in his home, but she said "you can assume that if someone has this type of firepower and they're going through great pains to make sure it isn't traceable, it is for ill gotten gains. Either to sell and transfer it to someone who could hurt someone with these guns or do it themselves," Lacey said.

Ponder's 27-year-old daughter Riley Ponder was also arrested after weapons were found in her room.

"We believe she knew what these weapons were, and they were in her room so we charged her with possession of the weapons as well as possession of a destructive device," Lacey said.

Riley Ponder was taken into custody on Feb. 14 and bonded out the next day. Steven Ponder surrendered to law enforcement on Feb. 15 and was released on bail the following day.

The district attorney's office said Steven Ponder was charged with the following felony counts: possession of a firearm by a felon, unlawful possession of ammunition, possession of a destructive device, unlawful assault weapon/.50 BMG rifle activity, possession of an assault weapon, possession of a machine gun and possession of a short-barreled rifle or shotgun.

Riley Ponder was charged with three felony counts: possession of an assault weapon, possession of a destructive device and prohibited transfer of firearms.

Steven Ponder is scheduled to be arraigned March 19, while Riley Ponder is expected to be in court on March 8.

If convicted as charged, Steven Ponder faces a maximum possible sentence of eight years in state prison, while Riley Ponder could face five years in prison.

The State of California is the first and only state in the nation to establish an automated system for tracking firearm owners who might fall into a prohibited status. To date, the California DOJ Bureau of Firearms has removed 18,000 firearms from persons prohibited under California law from possessing them.