Two felons from Hemet have been arrested on suspicion of selling firearms giving pipe bombs to an undercover federal agent, ATF officials announced.
Stanley Camarena, 29, and Manuel Perez, 52, both of Hemet, were charged with one count of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition in a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday.
Camarena is a three-time convicted felon and Perez has seven felony convictions in his criminal history, according to the ATF affidavit, and both men, who are roommates, are prohibited from possessing any firearms and ammunition.
The two men allegedly sold several firearms and ammunition between Aug. 23 and Aug. 30, and provided six pipe bombs in what the ATF called “three controlled purchases.” ATF officials say the pair sold a .45-caliber pistol, a .762-caliber rifle, and a semi-automatic rifle and an AR-style, privately manufactured firearm, both of which had no serial numbers to an ATF undercover agent on Aug. 23. The sale included approximately 590 rounds of ammunition.
In a second, controlled purchase on Monday, both men allegedly sold the undercover agent two rifles, a shotgun, a .45-caliber pistol, and a privately made semi-automatic pistol with no serial number. During the sale, a live pipe bomb was apparently thrown in as a gift.
After the Monday sale, the LAPD’s bomb squad was called in, and a robot was used to examine the pipe bomb. The bomb squad determined the fuse and material inside were energetic and capable of creating an explosion, so several buildings and streets near Figueroa and 8th streets in downtown Los Angeles were evacuated and closed so the LAPD’s bomb squad could safely detonate the pipe bomb.
Camarena showed up Wednesday for a third controlled firearm purchase with a woman, a teenager, and two small children. He sold the undercover agent three more firearms, including a privately made 9mm-caliber handgun with no serial number, a shotgun, and a rifle, according to the affidavit, and gave the agent another five completed pipe bombs wrapped in a towel.
After Camarena was arrested, the LAPD bomb squad again took custody of the pipe bombs and detonated them safely, the ATF said. Perez was arrested after a federal search warrant was served on the Hemet home where the two men live.
Perez is scheduled to make his first court appearance Thursday, while a federal magistrate judge ordered Camarena to remain in custody without bail and scheduled him for a Sept. 20 arraignment.
If convicted as charged, both men face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.