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Jury convicts former Sacramento sheriff’s deputy on firearms counts

08/06/2014 12:38 PM

08/06/2014 12:42 PM

A former Sacramento sheriff’s deputy was convicted Wednesday on two felony firearms-related charges, one for providing a large-capacity ammunition clip to a federal undercover agent and another for possession of an illegal shotgun.

Ryan James McGowan, 33, is facing a maximum sentence of three years and eight months in prison on the two convictions returned by a Sacramento Superior Court jury after less than a day of deliberations.

McGowan possibly faces another year in jail for his no-contest plea on an additional misdemeanor count of possession of testosterone. A multi-agency task force discovered bottles of the body-building substance during a search of McGowan’s Elk Grove home that also turned up the Izhmash Saiga 12-gauge shotgun that was capable of accepting a detachable magazine.

Judge Steve White scheduled McGowan’s sentencing for Sept. 5.

The same jury that returned the two convictions also acquitted McGowan on two additional charges – one of providing a large-capacity magazine to an undercover agent and another for possession of an assault rifle with a detachable magazine.

A task force headed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives made the case on McGowan three years ago in an investigation into unlawful firearms dealings by local law enforcement officers who could legally acquire assault weapons.

Authorities said they met with McGowan through the website and arranged to purchase weapons from him on July 15, 2011, and again on Aug. 4, 2011. In the first instance, they said McGowan gave an undercover agent an assembled magazine capable of holding 25 bullets. The jury convicted McGowan on that count. In the latter exchange, McGowan disassembled the magazine before giving it to the agent. Jurors acquitted him on that charge.

As a result of the two contacts with McGowan at the River City Gun Exchange on Fruitridge Road, members of the task force searched his house and retrieved the shotgun as well as a PS90 assault rifle. The evidence showed that a bolt had been inserted into the magazine on the PS90 to keep it attached to the rifle. McGowan was acquitted on that count.

After the verdict, Deputy District Attorney Tan Thinh asked the judge to remand McGowan into custody. White refused, based on McGowan’s background as a law enforcement officer and his belief that the defendant will make his court appearances. He also said that he does not think the former deputy presents a public safety threat. He allowed McGowan to remain free on $30,000 bond.

McGowan declined to comment after the verdict. Thinh also withheld comment, saying the case is still pending.

Another former Sacramento sheriff’s deputy has pleaded guilty in federal court to a weapons count. McGowan still faces federal charges stemming from the 2011 investigation. A police officer from Sacramento and another from Roseville resigned amid the investigation.

Sacto 911 Staff

Bill Lindelof

Cathy Locke

Andy Furillo
Superior Court

Denny Walsh
Federal Court

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