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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Central District of California
For Immediate Release
E. Martin Estrada, United States Attorney
Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Burbank Man Pleads Guilty to Illegally Selling Firearms and Methamphetamine out of His DTLA Hookah Lounge Business

LOS ANGELES – A Burbank man pleaded guilty today to federal criminal charges for running an illegal firearms business out of a downtown Los Angeles hookah lounge he owned – which included the sale of so-called “ghost guns” – and for possessing with intending to distribute methamphetamine.

Hovik Dagesian, 42, pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

According to his plea agreement, from October 2020 to January 2021, Dagesian illegally sold 11 firearms – including firearms not bearing serial numbers, weapons that are commonly referred to as “ghost guns.” The firearms Dagesian illegally sold included a 12-gauge shotgun, an AR-15-type rifle with no serial number, and a 9mm handgun. Dagesian also admitted to selling methamphetamine to a buyer on October 30, 2020. The illegal firearm and drug sales took place at Dagesian’s hookah business in downtown Los Angeles.

In total, Dagesian sold $34,250 worth of firearms and methamphetamine to a buyer.

In January 2021, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Dagesian’s business. During the search, law enforcement seized 163.3 grams (5.8 ounces) of methamphetamine, a digital scale, approximately 215 rounds of ammunition, and many firearms he was willing to sell, including a sawed-off shotgun.

Dagesian has never been licensed as a dealer, manufacturer or importer of firearms.

United States District Judge Mark C. Scarsi scheduled a January 8, 2024 sentencing hearing, at which time Dagesian will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment for the drug distribution count. The illegal firearms dealing count carries a penalty of up to five years in federal prison.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Los Angeles Police Department investigated this matter.


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