SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY --
Did San Joaquin County Sheriff’s deputies sell evidence and old department guns for a profit?
That’s the subject of an investigation by the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office now turned over to the FBI.
San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore called for this investigation himself after the Stockton Record ran a story making the allegations public. Moore said he doesn't know of any wrongdoing, but the former deputy who brought the alleged misdeeds to light says the sheriff knew and benefited.
“There was a gun chop shop scheme that was defrauding the county of thousands of dollars,” said Frank Gayaldo, a former San Joaquin County deputy.
Gayaldo, a 20-year veteran of law enforcement and outspoken critic of the sheriff’s office, said he learned of the alleged wrong doing through law enforcement contacts. He said he initially took the story to the district attorney’s office but got no response, so he contacted the Stockton Record.
“There were two types of wrong doing, evidence guns and service weapons. Both were handled incorrectly,” Gayaldo said.
Moore said he was trying to make the best out of a tight budget when he directed the department to sell old service weapons. Moore said he ordered the old guns to be sold for credit toward buying new ones.
He said he made clear all protocols were to be followed and no evidence weapons were to have been sold.
However, according to Gayaldo, instead of selling the service weapons, deputies broke them down into parts, such as the frames.
Gayaldo accuses the deputies of then buying back the same parts to reassemble into guns sold for large profits. For example, he says deputies would disassemble a gun and sell the frame while working in their capacity as county officials. They would then allegedly by back that same frame, assemble it into a working gun, sell the gun for more than six times what they sold the parts for and pocket the profit.
Gayaldo also claims documents he credits to law enforcement sources prove evidence weapons were sold. He directed FOX40 toward a document ordering a 9mm Uzi be destroyed and another document listing the sale of an Uzi with the same serial number for $750.
Moore said he doesn’t know if there was wrong doing and if there was, he wasn’t aware of it.
“If the investigation gives me other facts that we’re not aware of, we’ll take whatever steps we need to correct it,” Moore said.
Moore admits to buying a gun from a deputy accused in this investigation. He wouldn't say how much he paid for it, saying that information is part of the investigation.
He said he doesn't know the results of the DA investigation but he welcomes the federal review.
FOX40 was told the San Joaquin County District Attorney spokesperson would be available via telephone to discuss the investigation, however we were not able to reach them for comment.