LOS ANGELES – A California lawyer and former Rialto police officer was indicted today by a federal grand jury after he was found with a fake FBI credential, a hand grenade, silencers and several illegal firearms, including a loaded AR-type semiautomatic rifle.
Sergio Lopez de Tirado, 43, of Corona, was named today in a five-count indictment that charges him with two counts of possession of unregistered firearms, two counts of possession of firearms without a serial number, and one count of possession of a fraudulently made government seal.
A Riverside County sheriff’s deputy found Lopez de Tirado on December 21 asleep in the passenger’s side of a pickup truck that was parked with its doors wide open blocking a driveway in Norco. According to a criminal complaint previously filed in this case, Lopez de Tirado appeared intoxicated, had difficulty stepping out of the truck and identified himself as former “Rialto PD.” Lopez de Tirado was found to have multiple loaded firearms, a knife in a sheath on his person, and a hand grenade in a holster under his arm.
A subsequent search of the truck allegedly produced a fraudulent FBI credential. The search also produced multiple firearms, including an unregistered MK9 9mm semiautomatic rifle and two unregistered firearm silencers, according to the affidavit in support of the complaint. All of the firearms recovered from the vehicle are alleged to have been loaded, including the AR-type rifle with a mounted silencer. Lopez de Tirado was taken into state custody, and was subsequently released after posting bail.
During the early morning hours of January 30, a California Highway Patrol officer found Lopez de Tirado and a passenger in a pick-up truck parked the wrong way on the right shoulder of Interstate 15 in Corona, the affidavit states. The officer determined that Lopez de Tirado’s driver’s license had been suspended and ordered his truck impounded. A search of the truck produced a loaded and unregistered short barrel AR-type semiautomatic rifle, according to the affidavit.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Lopez de Tirado is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment on February 27 in United States District Court.
Lopez de Tirado, who has been in federal custody since he was arrested pursuant to the criminal complaint on February 1, faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for each of the four firearm-related charges and five years on the fraudulent government seal possession charge.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Inland Empire Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Substantial assistance was provided by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the Rialto Police Department and the California Highway Patrol.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Reema M. El-Amamy of the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section.