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Man cleared of assault weapons charges

A man who was facing more than one serious weapons charge in California has been exonerated, with prosecutors dropping the allegations. The Fresno man had been facing an extraordinary 35 felony weapons charges in connection with an investigation that began in 2011. Although the man may have committed some of those crimes, procedural errors within the Fresno Police Department led to the charges against him being dismissed. Procedural errors in the case were so egregious that the court decided it could not provide the man the fair trial he deserved.

Officers first began investigating the man after receiving a tip from a federal agency that the man may have stolen weapons from a nearby Army base, Fort Irwin. Several AK-74 assault rifles and at least one sniper rifle had been stolen from that facility. When investigators arrived at the man's home and business, he agreed to a search because federal agents said they were only interested in locating the stolen weapons. Those agents assured the man that they were not intending to pursue state charges.

However, Fresno police did not comply with that directive, instead using the same federal agency tip to obtain a state search warrant. The man in this case was accused of possessing 33 assault rifles, along with a silencer and a grenade launcher, all of which were supposedly found on his property. Subsequent findings showed that the grenade launcher was, in fact, a flare gun that is sold at a variety of retail outlets. The silencer was also found to be a barrel for an air-soft rifle, a common toy.

Prosecutors in the case agreed to drop the charges after realizing that the man had been deceived throughout the legal proceeding. The man was reportedly very helpful when Fresno police searched his home, showing his collection and providing other assistance. Officers seized two rifles and a submachine gun, but they determined that none of the weapons had been pilfered from the Army facility.

The man is seeking permission to ship the guns to another state in compliance with California law.

Source: www.fresnobee.com, "Charges dropped against Kingsburg man accused of having illegal weapons" Pablo Lopez, Oct. 24, 2013

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Former Criminal Prosecutor With Proven Results