Pasadena police lieutenant arrested for selling guns illegally


((CNS/FOX11) A Pasadena police lieutenant was arrested today on
federal charges of selling dozens of guns without a license, making false
statements during gun purchases and possessing an unregistered firearm.

Lt. Vasken Kenneth Gourdikian, 48, surrendered to federal authorities,
according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. A federal indictment unsealed
Thursday accuses him of engaging in unlicensed sales of 107 weapons between
March 2014 and February 2017.

He was also indicted for allegedly making false statements during two
gun purchases, claiming he was the actual buyer of the weapons even though he
had already agreed to sell them to someone else. He was also charged with being
in possession of an unregistered, modified Sig Sauer model MPX 9mm short-
barreled rifle.

Gourdikian pleaded not guilty to the charges Friday afternoon. He was
expected to be freed on $100,000 bail, and a trial date was tentatively set for
April 24.

Pasadena spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said Gourdikian has been on paid
administrative leave from the department since Feb. 16, 2017. Federal agents
raided his Sierra Madre home earlier that month and seized more than 60
firearms, including the Sig Sauer.

In light of the indictment, Gourdikian will now be placed on unpaid
leave, according to the city.

"The allegations, if true, are concerning," Pasadena police Chief
Phillip Sanchez said. "We continue to cooperate with federal authorities and
are continuing our internal affairs investigation into this matter. The men and
women of the Pasadena Police Department continue to deliver extraordinary
service to the community. We cannot understate our commitment to the city of
Pasadena when it comes to the safety of our residents and quality-of-life

The indictment alleges that Gourdikian repeatedly requested law-
enforcement waivers of 10-day waiting periods for the purchase of weapons. It
also contends that he engaged in the sale of "off roster" weapons, which can
only be purchased by law enforcement officers or members of the military. The
weapons can then be resold to the public.

Federal authorities contend that Gourdikian frequently advertised guns
for sale on the website, often offering "off roster" weapons.
But he was never "a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer or licensed
dealer of firearms," according to the indictment.

"In these days of escalating gun violence, it is important to enforce
our firearms laws vigorously," U.S. Attorney Nicola T. Hanna said. "Those
who sell guns illegally need to be held accountable, especially those who abuse
a position of public trust."

An attorney for Gourdikian says the charges against his client are "misguided" and abuse of prosecutorial discretion.
Defense attorney Mark Geragos says in a statement that Pasadena Police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian will vigorously fight the charges. 

Gourdikian faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted of all counts,
prosecutors said.

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