Military arms get out on San Bernardino County streets
Doug Saunders (San Bernardino Sun) | July 08, 2012
A former Marine from Twentynine Palms was convicted early this month in federal court in Riverside of possession of an automatic weapon he said he brought back from the war in Iraq.
In May, a man and a 13-year-old boy from Colton were arrested on suspicion of possessing a military-grade AT-4 anti-tank weapon believed to have been stolen from the military, according to Colton police.
These are just two of several incidents involving military arms being discovered on the streets of San Bernardino County, authorities say.
“Any weapon on the street in the wrong hands makes a dangerous situation,” said sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Bachman. “But in the hands of criminals and gang members with no military training, the result is likely to become extremely deadly.”
In July 2011, 26 AK-47 assault weapons and a Dragunov sniper rifle were stolen from an armory at Fort Irwin outside Barstow.
Agents from the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the FBI and the state Attorney General’s Office have made significant strides in the investigation of the Fort Irwin arms theft, according to an email from Army spokesman William Layer.
“Three soldiers from Fort Irwin were arrested and charged in connection with the arms theft,” Layer added. “Half of the weapons have been recovered and we are optimistic about the recovery of the rest of the weapons.”
Tags: arms theft, Army's Criminal Investigation Command, Colton, former Marine, Fort Irwin, possession of an automatic weapon, Riverside, San Bernardino County, SMASH gang team, Twentynine Palms, war souvenirs