Crime - Sacto 911

Former Sacramento deputy sentenced to 18 months for illegally selling weapons

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A former Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in prison for illegally selling firearms, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

The deputy, Ryan McGowan, 34, of Elk Grove was also fined $7,000 for conspiring to make a false statement on a firearms record, Talbert said in a news release.

McGowan used his position to buy “off-roster” firearms, which are weapons not on the approved list for sale to the public. Off-roster firearms have not been certified by the Department of Justice or passed firing, safety and drop tests. Peace officers can buy off-roster firearms if they are brokered by a federal firearms licensee, but cannot use the private sales for profit.

The former deputy purchased 41 handguns and sold 25 between 2008 and 2011. Mcgowan purchased 33 of the guns from Snellings Firearms, according to the Department of Justice. He returned some of the weapons to Robert Snellings, the company’s owner, allowing Snellings to keep or sell unapproved weapons to the public, the DOJ news release said.

McGowan and Snellings were convicted last year following a jury trial. Snellings, 64, of Rancho Murieta, a former federal firearms licensee, was sentenced last week to one year in prison.

Snellings and McGowan falsely stated on Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives forms that a police officer was purchasing the guns. In reality, McGowan transferred the handguns to real purchasers allowing them to illegally buy off-roster firearms.

The case was the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with the active involvement of the Sacramento Sheriff’s Office and the Sacramento Police Department. The Roseville Police Department and other law enforcement agencies assisted.

Alejandra Reyes-Velarde: 916-321-1005