More than 1,000 guns seized in Los Angeles raid

Los Angeles (AFP) –


More than 1,000 handguns and rifles have been seized in a raid on a mansion in an upscale neighborhood in the US city of Los Angeles, law enforcement authorities said.

The weapons seizure came following an anonymous tip that firearms were being sold illegally out of the home, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) said.

The house, which is mostly hidden from the street by high hedges, is located in the exclusive Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles, near the famed Playboy Mansion and less than a mile from the home of power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce.

The Los Angeles Times said the home belongs to Cynthia Beck, who has three children with Gordon Getty, the son of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty.

Video footage taken by local television stations showed Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers and ATF agents inspecting enormous piles of handguns and rifles on grey tarpaulins outside the home.

"Pursuant to an anonymous tip, ATF and LAPD became aware of an individual conducting illegal firearms (transactions) outside the scope of the federal firearm license that the individual possesses," the ATF said in a statement.

"A large amount of firearms manufacturing equipment and tools have been recovered," the ATF said.

"While the search warrant continues, there has been more than 1,000 firearms seized," it said. "ATF and LAPD have no reason to believe the public is in any danger."

Police said a 57-year-old man identified as Girard Damien Saenz was arrested and faces a number of weapons-related charges including distributing, transporting and selling assault weapons.

Saenz was released Thursday morning on $50,000 bail and it was unclear if he had a valid permit to possess the weapons.

"It's just beyond comprehension that somebody can have so many weapons in a residence like this in a neighborhood such like this," Los Angeles police lieutenant Chris Ramirez told reporters at the scene.

"I've never seen so many weapons in my career of 31 years," he added. "It's kind of astounding."

Authorities said it took some 30 law enforcement officers more than 15 hours -- beginning at 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday -- to clear the house and remove the weapons.

The Times said Beck could not be reached for comment and it was unclear "what, if any, connection she had to Wednesday's events."

The daily added that Beck and Saenz together own several properties in the Los Angeles area and an office building in San Francisco.