O.C. Lawyer Arrested on Federal Grand Jury Indictment Alleging Illegal Firearms Sales and Methamphetamine Distribution
LOS ANGELES – An Orange County lawyer was arrested today on a federal grand jury indictment charging her with conspiring to sell firearms without a license and distributing methamphetamine.
Melinda Romines, 41, of Anaheim, was taken into federal custody this morning. She is expected to make her initial court appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles.
Romines has been charged with one count of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, one count of possession of an unregistered firearm, and two counts of distributing methamphetamine.
According to the indictment returned last week, Romines – who does not have federal firearms license issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) – found firearms available for purchase from black market firearms dealers. She then acted as a broker between the black market dealers and customers, ultimately buying the firearms from the dealers and then re-selling them to customers, the indictment alleges.
For example, in a Los Angeles parking lot in May 2018, Romines allegedly sold two firearms – a .40-caliber pistol and an AR-type .45-caliber rifle, both lacking serial numbers – as well as a silencer and a high-capacity magazine with approximately 20 rounds of ammunition in a transaction that netted her $2,600. In October 2018, in another Los Angeles parking lot, she sold a .45-caliber pistol and ammunition to a buyer for $900, the indictment alleges.
Romines also allegedly sold nearly a quarter-pound of methamphetamine in two transactions in October and November 2018.
A second defendant named in the indictment – Seaira Benson, a.k.a. “Relli,” 27, of Los Angeles – is been charged along with Romines with one count of distributing approximately 111 grams of methamphetamine. Authorities are currently seeking Benson.
The methamphetamine distribution charge charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment. If convicted of the firearms-related counts, Romines would face a statutory maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison on those charges.
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.
The ATF investigated this case, which was conducted with the support of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Brittney M. Harris of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section and Rachel N. Agress of the General Crimes Section.