Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Los Angeles Field Division
The Violent Crime Bureau
For Immediate Release
May 25, 2012
Contact: Special Agent Christian Hoffman, PIO
Office: (818) 265-2507
Cell: (213) 216-3622
ATF Undercover Operation in the Valley Recovers 13 Firearms
LOS ANGELES – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) today announced the arrests of five defendants for various federal firearms and narcotics violations during an undercover investigation dubbed
Operation Hollywood Confidential.
In June 2010, ATF initiated the investigation that targeted firearm traffickers in Hollywood and San Fernando Valley area after receiving information that individuals were trafficking firearms in those areas. A confidential informant working undercover on behalf of ATF was able to contact a number of those individuals and negotiate the purchase of 13 illegal firearms and narcotics in the San Fernando Valley.
ATF’s number one priority is to combat violent crime by targeting the criminals that supply the tools of the trade and the violent offenders that plague our communities, said Steven J. Bogdalek, ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Division.
This investigation disrupted several firearm trafficking suspects that were also supplying narcotics in the west valley of Los Angeles.
The following eight defendants are named in seven federal criminal indictments and charged with the following:
- Sandy Simpronio, 48, of Sunland, was arrested May 23. Simpronio is charged with distribution of methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine on premise where a minor is present, engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, and felon in possession of a firearm.
- Hayk Kazaryan, 31, of Burbank, was arrested Nov. 30, 2011. Kazaryan is charged with distribution of methamphetamine, felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of an unregistered firearm.
- Jose Sandoval, 37, of Long Beach, – was arrested Feb. 28. Sandoval is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
- Felix Lopez, 46, of North Hollywood, was arrested March 2, after being named in an indictment with Wilkerson. Lopez is charged with several counts of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine.
- Raul Gamera, 49, of North Hollywood, was arrested May 23. Gamera is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
- Boris Kuperman, 42, of North Hollywood, has not been located and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Kuperman is charged with distribution of methamphetamine and felon in possession of a firearm.
- Morgan Herrera, 60, of Colton, has not been located and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Herrera is charged with distribution of methamphetamine.
- Derrek Wilkerson, 43, of North Hollywood, has not been located and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Wilkerson is charged with several counts of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine, as well as being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
The five defendants taken into custody have pleaded not guilty and are currently scheduled to go to trial this summer.
The drug distribution charges alleged in the indictments carry a mandatory minimum sentence of at least five years and statutory maximum penalties of 40 years in federal prison. The charges of felon in possession of a firearm and felon in possession of ammunition carry a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.
The investigation was led by ATF with assistance from the Los Angeles Police Department, (LAPD), and the Los Angeles County Probation Department, (DISARM).
A criminal indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The federal charges are being prosecuted by the United States Attorney Office in Los Angeles.
More information about ATF and its programs is available at www.atf.gov.