DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of California

For Immediate Release

Friday, March 21, 2014
Benjamin B. Wagner
, United States Attorney
Contact: Lauren Horwood

California National Guardsmen Sentenced to Prison for Stolen Machine Guns

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Stephen Gooden, 40, of Stockton, was sentenced on Thursday by United States District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine for possessing a machine gun, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. According to court documents, Gooden and Luis Castro, 28, of Sacramento, were members of the California National Guard and stole two M-4 machine guns from the National Guard’s armory in Lodi. Gooden then sold the machine guns to non-authorized persons in Stockton. ATF agents recovered the machine guns in an undercover operation. “Today's sentencing reflects the true partnership among federal law enforcement agencies,” said Frank Robey, director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command's Major Procurement Fraud Unit (MPFU). “No criminal stands a chance against our MPFU agents working shoulder to shoulder with the ATF and other agencies. We hope that the sentence imposed today will deter others from engaging in similar illegal activity.”

This case was the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command. Assistant United States Attorneys Paul Hemesath and Heiko Coppola prosecuted the case. On February 25, 2013, Castro was sentenced for his involvement in the theft and sale of the machine guns to 20 months in prison.

San Francisco Field Division