NEWS

LAPD Officer Under Investigation for Smuggling Guns and Ammo

By Matthew Harwood

A veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is under federal investigation for smuggling ten handguns and ammunition to the security firm he runs in the Central American nation of Belize.

Officer Johnny Baltazar allegedly bought eight .40-caliber Glock handguns from the LAPD Academy Store and sent them, along with two other handguns and 1,530 rounds of ammunition, to his firm Elite Security.


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According to documents obtained by The Los Angeles Times:

The documents state that Baltazar bought the handguns from the academy store in February 2007. In July 2007, he placed them in a safe, along with a pair of 9-millimeter handguns and the ammunition, and arranged to ship them to Belize with a company called Amerijet.

The officer did not declare the guns or ammunition in paperwork associated with the shipment and allegedly told Amerijet employees the safe was empty. Baltazar declared the value of the safe at $231.84, the documents show, but insured the shipment for $6,000 -- the approximate value of the guns and ammunition. 

Importing handguns larger than 9 millimeters is banned in Belize under a 2002 law, according to the police documents.

It is unclear how authorities in Belize discovered the smuggled weapons and ammunition in the safe.The safe was sent back to the United States, where it was seized by customs officers. A representative from Immigration and Customs Enforcement  would neither confirm nor deny that Officer Baltazar was under federal investigation.

Officer Baltazar, the Associated Press reports, has been suspended from the LAPD while an investigation determines whether he exported firearms without a license, whether he failed to declare the firearms he was exporting, and whether he failed to notify his superiors that he was under a federal investigation.

Officer Baltazar also failed to apply and receive a permit from the LAPD to work a second job. The LAPD requires such permits so it can determine whether an officer's second job compromises his duties as a police officer or hurts the reputation of the LAPD.

Here's what a .40-caliber Glock hand gun looks like in action:

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