A former Gardena police officer was sentenced Friday, Jan. 21, to two years of probation for purchasing so-called 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, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
He was convicted in October of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license.
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.
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.
In a previous trial in November 2019, a Los Angeles federal jury found Arao guilty of 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.
Six other defendants who illegally purchased firearms from Arao or Fernandez pleaded guilty and were sentenced, with two of those ordered to serve time in federal prison.