LOS ANGELES – A San Fernando Valley man was sentenced today to 144 months in federal prison for illegally selling firearms – including dozens of so-called “ghost guns” – and also selling pound quantities of methamphetamine.
Julio Ernesto Lopez-Menendez, 27, of Reseda, was sentenced by United States District Judge André Birotte Jr.
Lopez-Menendez pleaded guilty on February 3 to one count of distribution of methamphetamine and one count of engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license. He has been in federal custody since April 2022.
From January 2022 to April 2022, Lopez-Menendez sold at least 89 firearms and 20 rounds of ammunition over nine transactions to a buyer. The firearms sold included at least 62 firearms that lacked serial numbers and are commonly referred to as “ghost guns.” Of those ghost guns, four were short-barreled rifles whose barrel lengths Lopez-Menendez knew were each substantially less than the legally required 16 inches.
During a February 2022 telephone call with a buyer, Lopez-Menendez said the possession of shotguns or rifles with short barrels was “super illegal.” None of these short-barreled rifles were federally registered by Lopez-Menendez. He does not have a federal firearms license and does not have any firearms registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, the central registry for all items regulated under the National Firearms Act, according to court documents.
Lopez-Menendez also sold to a buyer a total of 17 pounds of methamphetamine on four occasions, including one sale in which he sold 4.2 kilograms (9.2 pounds) of the drug to the buyer.
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Southern California Drug Task Force; the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; and the Los Angeles Police Department investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Chou of the Violent and Organized Crimes Section prosecuted this case.