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Press Release

Riverside ‘Prepper’ Who Stockpiled Arsenal near College Campus Pleads Guilty to Being a Felon in Possession of Firearms

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

            LOS ANGELES – A Riverside man and self-proclaimed “Doomsday Prepper” who possessed an arsenal of weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition has pleaded guilty in federal court to being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.

            Hector Mariscal, 41, pleaded guilty Monday in United States District Court and admitted that he unlawfully possessed semi-automatic firearms, shotguns, rifles, a receiver for an AR-15 machine gun, and various types of ammunition. Mariscal also admitted in court that he was not legally allowed to possess these items because he previously sustained felony convictions for burglary – and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

            According to court documents, law enforcement officers executed a federal search warrant at Mariscal’s residence near Riverside City College in June. During the search, law enforcement seized firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, tasers, silencers, body armor and a flare launcher.

            According to an affidavit filed in the case, on the date of the search, Mariscal admitted that he was a convicted felon who illegally possessed multiple firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Mariscal repeatedly described himself as a “Doomsday Prepper,” who in connection with his preparation also collected knives and other dangerous items, including a flare launcher. According to the affidavit, Mariscal told investigators that he regularly goes to the swap meet to obtain firearms and other dangerous weapons, stating, “You’d be surprised what you can find at a swap meet.”

            “This defendant’s continued affinity for guns has earned him a second felony conviction, this time for illegally possessing firearms,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “The defendant flagrantly violated laws designed to protect the public by keeping firearms away from convicted felons, and now he faces a substantial period of time in a federal prison.”

            The case against Mariscal is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

            “Mr. Mariscal previously admitted to a felony conviction for the same conduct,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Eric D. Harden. “ATF works with our partner agencies to identify and prosecute those that choose to repeatedly circumvent regulations designed to protect our communities from gun violence.”

            Mariscal pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Manuel Real, who is scheduled to sentence the defendant on November 21. At the time of sentencing, Mariscal faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

            The Riverside Police Department and the Los Angeles Police Department provided substantial assistance in the investigation.

            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Reema El-Amamy.

Updated September 14, 2016

Press Release Number: 16-217