Crime - Sacto 911

Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: Has gun shop owner been sentenced for role in illegal weapons deals?

Q: Robert Snellings, a firearms dealer, was convicted in a case involving the illegal purchase of weapons by law enforcement officers. Has he been sentenced?

Anonymous, Sacramento

A: Robert Snellings Jr., a Sacramento firearms dealer, and his co-defendant Ryan McGowan, a former Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy, are seeking a new trial, according to online federal court records.

A federal jury in June found McGowan guilty of dealing in firearms without a license and conspiring to falsify firearms records. Snellings was found guilty of conspiring to falsify records of transactions at his gun shop. The convictions came during a second trial. The case previously ended in a mistrial when the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict.

Snellings and McGowan initially were to be sentenced Aug. 27, but a motion for new trial was filed in June. According to online court records, a hearing on that motion is set for Oct. 8.

When charges in the case were announced in 2012, authorities described a wide-ranging conspiracy that involved three other officers, one each from the Sacramento and Roseville police departments and another Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy. The two police officers were allowed to resign and never faced charges. Federal authorities gave them immunity in return for their cooperation against the other suspects, according to stories in The Sacramento Bee.

The second deputy, Thomas Lu, cooperated with prosecutors and pleaded guilty as part of an agreement to testify against McGowan and Snellings.

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