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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
www.justice.gov/usao-cdca
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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