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US police officer indicted of illegally selling over 100 firearms

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A California police officer was taken into custody Friday on federal charges related to the illegal sale of more than 100 firearms.

According to a press release issued by the US Attorney's Office for the Central District of California, Pasadena police officer Vasken Kenneth Gourdikian, a 48-year-old lieutenant on administrative leave, turned himself in to federal authorities Friday.

On Thursday he was named by a federal grand jury in a four-count indictment that accuses him of dealing in firearms without a license, making false statements on forms from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) as well as possessing an unregistered short-barreled rifle.

The federal indictment charged that Gourdikian sold over 100 firearms without a license from March 2014 through February 2017. He allegedly used his official status as a police officer to purchase firearms that were not available to the general public, and then sold the "off-roster" firearms through third-party transfers to the public.

His status as an officer let him purchase more than one handgun in a 30-day period, according to the indictment. He also allegedly obtained authorization from his employer to acquire a firearm before the 10-day waiting period was over, the indictment said.

The indictment also disclosed that special agents from the ATF executed a federal search warrant at Gourdikian's residence in 2017 and seized approximately 62 firearms, including an unregistered short-barreled rifle.

Gourdikian appeared in the US District Court in downtown Los Angeles Friday afternoon. He pleaded not guilty in court, then was released on a 100,000-US-dollar bond. If convicted on all four charges, Gourdikian could face up to 35 years in federal prison.

Mark Geragos, an attorney representing Gourdikian, released a statement Friday as well.

"This Indictment is misguided and truly an abuse of the supposed discretion of the Government," the statement said. "This case will be vigorously contested."

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