San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office Cleared in Investigation into Sale of Evidence Guns

SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY -- The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office has found no violations at the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office after investigating the sales of evidence firearms at the department.

No shock from Frank Gayaldo, a man with more than 20 years of law enforcement experience and an outspoken critic of San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore.

“We knew that [Tori Verber-Salazar] was at some point going to protect the sheriff, so that’s no surprise,” he said.

The investigation, ordered by the sheriff himself, looked into the allegations that some guns taken into evidence by the agency were stripped down and sold to a licensed firearms dealer.

The DA, Tori Verber Salazar, released a letter on Tuesday clearing the sheriff of any wrongdoing saying: “We have found no violations of California criminal statutes.”

Moore admitted to purchasing one gun but has always said the transaction was legal.

The sheriff applauded the DA’s conclusion and released this statement:

“The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office believes in transparency and continuing its positive working relationship with the community and its law enforcement partners. Today, the Sheriff’s Office is pleased to know that the investigation we requested and conducted by the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office into the sales of firearms by the office between July 2011 and July 2012 has concluded and no violations of California statutes were found. This department is committed to maintaining a positive, professional and high caliber office, we knew all along this investigation would find no criminal wrong doing. We want to thank the District Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and the United States Attorney’s Office for doing their due diligence and investigating this matter with the highest standards. The Sheriff’s Office will await a full report from the District Attorney’s Office before making any further statements. As always the investigations recommendations and best practices highlighted by the District Attorney’s office will immediately be addressed.”

But Gayaldo said not so fast.

He said Moore’s office sold the guns for a profit, and when it comes to evidence firearms, the manner the sheriff’s office handled those weapons in was not legal.

But according to the DA, Moore’s office sold them for a credit to a licensed firearms dealer and argues this is not a violation of state law.

In her conclusion, Verber-Salazar wrote, "It is of concern that some of the guns were sold at a substantial discount to employees of the sheriff’s office and those practices should not be condoned going forward."

Gayaldo said he will continue his pursuit of the truth.

“There’s nowhere in the law that allows sheriffs to become pirates where they personally can see evidence guns that they like, and then they personally purchase it at a substantial discount, personally profiting from that evidence gun.”

The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office also took a look at the allegations. The DA’s office wrote that neither agency had found federal law violations.