Like any businessman, Sharod Gibbons appreciated good customers, and the alleged black-market gun dealer was delighted with one that came along in May 2013, courtesy of federal firearms agents, court papers say.
At the third sale, near the intersection of Arden Way and Watt Avenue on May 29, 2013, the customer counted out $700 for a 9 mm, semi-automatic pistol, and Gibbons exclaimed, “Good business, good business, man we gonna keep it going!” And they did, well into February 2014, according to the court papers.
At meetings in Sacramento over a 10-month period, the customer paid Gibbons $36,800 of the government’s money for 14 rifles and seven handguns, court papers allege. The buyer, identified only as a “confidential informant” or “CI,” was working undercover for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice that enforces federal laws governing the sale of guns.
The informant’s dealings with Gibbons and physical surveillance by agents eventually led to Gibbons’ suppliers Charles Beaver and his son Bryce Beaver. They are alleged in court papers to have made weapons for Gibbons.
Early on Feb. 26, 2014, law enforcement officers closed down the undercover operation and executed search warrants at the residences of Gibbons and the Beavers. Gibbons, 31, lives in South Natomas; Charles Beaver, 61, lives in Rancho Cordova; and Bryce Beaver, 36, lives in Orangevale.
In an interview the day of searches, Bryce Beaver told officers he and his father had been building firearms for approximately 18 months, and said Gibbons was one of their customers, the court papers allege. On the same day, in interviews at their homes, Charles Beaver and Gibbons corroborated Bryce Beaver’s account.
In separate criminal complaints filed Monday, all three were charged with conspiracy to unlawfully manufacture and deal in firearms, unlawful dealing in firearms, and possession of an unregistered firearm.
The Beavers were arrested Tuesday and made initial appearances Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Allison Claire. She ordered each of them released on $25,000 unsecured bonds. Their next court date is March 25. Gibbons is expected to make his initial court appearance next week.
In addition to peddling firearms, Gibbons was employed at a gun store in North Highlands and worked in the office at the Spirit and Truth Church in the 2200 block of Arden Way, where his uncle is the pastor, according to an affidavit of ATFE Special Agent Jerry Donn in support of the criminal complaint.
The affidavit, which gives a detailed account of the investigation, says the informant met Gibbons in the parking lot of the church Nov. 1, 2013.
“Gibbons then escorted the CI into the church and to a second floor office where he had stored ... two short-barreled rifles,” Donn’s affidavit says. After the informant counted out $3,000 for the rifles, Gibbons told him, “This is my spot too man, anytime, we may even just start coming up here, hella low key.” Gibbons went on to describe his uncle as “hella cool.”
Gibbons seemed to enjoy his work and was eager to please the informant, the affidavit indicates. The document describes a text he sent the informant that included a photo of two short-barreled AR-15 rifles and a message, “Again two beauties! The gun metal grey one is nasty.”
On another occasion reported in the affidavit, Gibbons and the informant met in the parking lot of a North Natomas shopping center, where the informant purchased a .30-.30-caliber rifle and six boxes of ammunition.
The informant, who was paid for his undercover work, appears to have been qualified for the assignment.
While he has worked with law enforcement for nine years, according to Donn’s affidavit, and provided accurate information, he also was convicted in 1993 of robbery and assault with a firearm, and in 2008 of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offense.
Call The Bee’s Denny Walsh, (916) 321-1189.