June 19 (UPI) — Local and federal authorities are investigating a Southern California man they say illegally stockpiled more than 500 firearms at two Los Angeles-area homes, officials said.
Police searched the home of Manuel Fernandez in Agua Dulce, 30 miles north of Los Angeles, after receiving a tip that he kept hundreds of firearms there. Fernandez, a convicted felon, is barred by law from owning any guns.
Officials said they found 432 firearms during a search at the home last week.
That search led investigators to second home about a mile away, where 30 additional illegal firearms were found. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said the woman who lived at that home was away during the search and has not returned.
The next day, a follow-up search at Fernandez’s home found 91 more firearms that had been hidden.
The total number of firearms found — 553.
“The case is a testament to the community’s involvement in reducing crime and taking guns out of the hands of criminals,” Sheriff Jim McDonnell said, citing the case as a positive example of the department’s “see something, say something” campaign.
Fernandez, 60, was jailed on charges of illegally possessing firearms and unlawfully possessing ammunition and large-capacity magazines. He posted bail and was released.
Due to the large number of firearms recovered, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were called to help with the investigation. Federal agents are trying to determine how the guns were purchased.
Fernandez is due in court July 9.