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  • Civilian officer suspected of illegal gun sales

    http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/88487



    Authorities searched the Gold Canyon home of a veteran Mesa civilian police officer Thursday suspecting that he illegally sold firearms — including some they believe were used in crimes and at least one sold on duty, police announced Wednesday.

    Officials said they found 223 guns in the home of Larry Cheatham, 56, who has worked in the city about 25 years assisting with traffic investigations and property recovery.

    Cheatham has been placed on paid suspension. He has not been arrested, but the case will be presented to the U.S. attorney in Arizona for possible prosecution, said Bill Newell, the Phoenix special agent in charge for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

    “There’s a lot of guns out there right now that Mr. Cheatham allegedly sold, and we don’t know when that gun is going to show up in a crime,” Newell said.

    To date, federal records show Cheatham has bought 75 firearms since 2006 and 147 throughout his life. Newell said the man purchased the weapons legally, but he is suspected of breaking the law when he sold them without a license.

    Police said so far, six of Cheatham’s firearms were recovered as crime guns, including one in California and one in Alabama. The guns were not used in murders or shootings, authorities said.

    However, officials are concerned about the remaining missing guns — and how the case reflects on the Police Department.

    “This is really an embarrassment to us,” Mesa police Chief George Gascón said. “We’re here right up front to tell you we have absolutely no tolerance for this behavior.”

    Authorities said guns sold by licensed dealers can be tracked, but when unlicensed people sell the weapons, they can end up in the hands of criminals.

    Newell said undercover agents made eight purchases from Cheatham since March 5, and on March 13, Cheatham even met up with an undercover agent while on duty and in uniform.

    During the Crossroads of the West Gun Show at the Arizona State Fairgrounds last weekend, undercover agents bought guns from the man, who they said had an inventory of 40 long guns and 15 handguns for sale at his booth.

    Bob Templeton, who owns the traveling gun show, said he was not aware anyone was selling guns illegally at his show. He said he was never told federal authorities were conducting investigations there, but he supports their efforts and does not want people operating outside of the law at his shows.

    “Unless they are selling as a hobby in an occasional basis, then they need to have a license,” Templeton said.

    Police Cmdr. John Meza said Cheatham worked under him for more than a year at the department. Meza described the civilian as “quiet” and someone who “just did his job.” He said he was one of the most senior civilian officers at the department.

  • #2
    Sheesh, where do you start?
    -Unless the officer is military, he is civillian. I don't know what a "civillian officer" might be,
    -How do the Feds know how many guns he has purchased over any given time period? By law they have to destroy those records of sales after 72 hours.
    -It is not a crime to sell your own guns privately. Not yet, anyway.
    -It is not a crime to have 223 guns in your house. It isn't a crime to have 10,000 guns in your house.
    -Guns sold by dealers can easily end up in the hands of criminals. In fact, every gun in the hands of criminals at one time was sold by a dealer.
    -If he was selling guns regularly for profit, then he is a dealer and needs a license. So I guess you can prosecute him for that.
    No wonder rights are an endangered species in this country.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by The Rabbi View Post
      Sheesh, where do you start?
      -Unless the officer is military, he is civillian. I don't know what a "civillian officer" might be,
      -How do the Feds know how many guns he has purchased over any given time period? By law they have to destroy those records of sales after 72 hours.
      -It is not a crime to sell your own guns privately. Not yet, anyway.
      -It is not a crime to have 223 guns in your house. It isn't a crime to have 10,000 guns in your house.
      -Guns sold by dealers can easily end up in the hands of criminals. In fact, every gun in the hands of criminals at one time was sold by a dealer.
      -If he was selling guns regularly for profit, then he is a dealer and needs a license. So I guess you can prosecute him for that.
      No wonder rights are an endangered species in this country.


      i tend to agree, what im wondering is what laws did the guy break exactly???

      im a law and order guy but im also a very staunch supporter of gun ownership, if he did some illegal stuff, cuff him and stuff him, if not leave him alone and apologize..
      The proper drinking of Scotch whisky is more than indulgence: it is a toast to civilization, a tribute to the continuity of culture, a manifesto of man’s determination to use the resources of nature to refresh mind and body and enjoy to the full the senses with which he has been endowed

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by The Rabbi View Post
        Sheesh, where do you start?
        -Unless the officer is military, he is civillian. I don't know what a "civillian officer" might be,
        -How do the Feds know how many guns he has purchased over any given time period? By law they have to destroy those records of sales after 72 hours.
        -It is not a crime to sell your own guns privately. Not yet, anyway.
        -It is not a crime to have 223 guns in your house. It isn't a crime to have 10,000 guns in your house.
        -Guns sold by dealers can easily end up in the hands of criminals. In fact, every gun in the hands of criminals at one time was sold by a dealer.
        -If he was selling guns regularly for profit, then he is a dealer and needs a license. So I guess you can prosecute him for that.
        No wonder rights are an endangered species in this country.
        If he's setting up a booth at a gun show where he has 55 guns that he's trying to sell, I would think he would need an FFL. I think that there are also federal laws against stockpiling weapons and ammo, but I'm not sure. Maybe some of the federal guys can enlighten us.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by stangfather View Post
          i tend to agree, what im wondering is what laws did the guy break exactly???

          im a law and order guy but im also a very staunch supporter of gun ownership, if he did some illegal stuff, cuff him and stuff him, if not leave him alone and apologize..
          Pretty cut and dry here...

          "During the Crossroads of the West Gun Show at the Arizona State Fairgrounds last weekend, undercover agents bought guns from the man, who they said had an inventory of 40 long guns and 15 handguns for sale at his booth."

          No FFL = criminal activity, simple. Even the Rabbi acknowledged this. I dunno, but I personally wouldn't want someone who may have access to sensitive/confidential areas of a PD/SD, going around selling firearms illegally...but that's just me
          "Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought" ~Henri Louis Bergson
          ______________________


          ComptonPOLICEGANGS.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by exComptonCop View Post
            Pretty cut and dry here...

            "During the Crossroads of the West Gun Show at the Arizona State Fairgrounds last weekend, undercover agents bought guns from the man, who they said had an inventory of 40 long guns and 15 handguns for sale at his booth."

            No FFL = criminal activity, simple. Even the Rabbi acknowledged this. I dunno, but I personally wouldn't want someone who may have access to sensitive/confidential areas of a PD/SD, going around selling firearms illegally...but that's just me
            But do you need an FFL to sell your guns at a gun show?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by xraodcop View Post
              http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/88487




              Cheatham has been placed on paid suspension. He has not been arrested, but the case will be presented to the U.S. attorney in Arizona for possible prosecution, said Bill Newell, the Phoenix special agent in charge for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.


              Looks like they're not sure where to go with this...

              A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying... that he is wiser today than yesterday. Jonathan Swift 1667-1745

              It's only a conspiracy when your party is not in power.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by LeanG View Post
                Looks like they're not sure where to go with this...
                Actually they are next most likely going to go to a grand jury and indict him, then they order him to turn himself in. Pretty standard fed way to handle this type of case with this type of defendant.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by exComptonCop View Post
                  Pretty cut and dry here...

                  "During the Crossroads of the West Gun Show at the Arizona State Fairgrounds last weekend, undercover agents bought guns from the man, who they said had an inventory of 40 long guns and 15 handguns for sale at his booth."

                  No FFL = criminal activity, simple. Even the Rabbi acknowledged this. I dunno, but I personally wouldn't want someone who may have access to sensitive/confidential areas of a PD/SD, going around selling firearms illegally...but that's just me


                  i saw that he had no license, was it the amount of weapons he was selling the point, at what amount of face to face sales requires a FFL?

                  i too was unaware that you needed a FFL to sell at gun shows.
                  The proper drinking of Scotch whisky is more than indulgence: it is a toast to civilization, a tribute to the continuity of culture, a manifesto of man’s determination to use the resources of nature to refresh mind and body and enjoy to the full the senses with which he has been endowed

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm still trying to figure out what a civilian police officer is. Military aside, does that mean he is a reserve police officer?

                    Edit: It says on his shirt in the picture "Police service officer". That makes sense now.

                    He is NOT a police officer civilian or otherwise.

                    Typical news media spin.
                    Last edited by Rogerthump; 04-27-2007, 04:46 AM. Reason: point out media spin

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rogerthump View Post
                      I'm still trying to figure out what a civilian police officer is. Military aside, does that mean he is a reserve police officer?

                      Edit: It says on his shirt in the picture "Police service officer". That makes sense now.

                      He is NOT a police officer civilian or otherwise.

                      Typical news media spin.
                      My interpretation is that he was a non-sworn police employee, like an evidence technician or a community service officer. A lot of those folks have the word "officer" in their job titles (some agencies call their dispatchers "communications officers"), but they have no police powers.

                      But I agree, "civilian police officer" confuses the issue, unless there are military police involved in the same story. I assume that anyone termed as a "police officer" is a civilian, as "officer" has an entirely different meaning in the military. Military police are not usually referred to as "police officers," but rather "military police personnel."
                      Tim Dees, now writing as a plain old forum member, his superpowers lost to an encounter with gold kryptonite.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by AlabamaCop View Post
                        If he's setting up a booth at a gun show where he has 55 guns that he's trying to sell, I would think he would need an FFL. I think that there are also federal laws against stockpiling weapons and ammo, but I'm not sure. Maybe some of the federal guys can enlighten us.
                        There is no law (yet) against stockpiling (whatever that means) weapons and ammo. If there were, some of my friends would be in jail. One guy I know has over 1000 guns in his basement. If he went to a gun show and got a table and decided to sell his collection, he would not be dong anything illegal.
                        The line between dealer and someone buying and selling for his own collection is hazy, at best. In general the definition includes, trying to make a profit.
                        In all I wouldnt want to be the prosecutor on this case, unless there is info we're not hearing.

                        Comment

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