Eight people from the Sacramento-San Joaquin region have been indicted on charges they made or sold illegal, unlicensed firearms.
A federal grand jury has returned a 70-count indictment against a San Joaquin County Sheriff corrections officer, his brother, and six other people. They are charged in a conspiracy to make and sell nearly 240 semi-automatic rifles and silencers without a license.
The defendants are from Elk Grove, Sacramento, Vallejo, Stockton, and Riverbank.
The San Joaquin County officer was a probationary employee with less than a year on the job. He has been dismissed.
Ben Wagner is the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District.
"I've been a federal prosecutor for 20 years and I don't remember a case that we have handled with more high-capacity firearms."
Wagner says law enforcement agencies have seen an increase in the use of illegal and unlicensed home-made guns at crime scenes and in the possession of gang members.
The indictment says the defendants were not licensed firearms retailers and performed no background checks when they sold the guns to an undercover federal agent.
The ATF says such guns usually sell for $1,000 more than the market price for a legal gun at a store.