Gungate II: a Sheriff, a DA, a Chief Investigator, Guns, Drugs, and Public Corruption. 

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By Frank Gayaldo

April 6, 2017

San Joaquin, CA- District Attorney Verber-Salazar fully and unequivocally acknowledges in a March 28, 2017 letter to Sheriff Moore that evidence guns were stripped to their frames and then employees, including Sheriff Steve Moore, himself received these same guns at undisclosed “substantial discounts”. This is exactly what sheriff critics including this author have been alleging, but is in direct conflict with what the Sheriff has claimed in multiple news reports. Watch here for coverage by KCRA 3. 

Sheriff Steve Moore and DA Verber-Salazar

Legal professionals, including her own subordinates, have expressed while she memorialized the sheriff’s actions, she oddly failed to acknowledge this was in clear criminal violation of 514 PC, felony public embezzlement; 1090 GC that explains civil servants cannot negotiate contracts that benefit themselves personally; and finally 12028 (C) PC, which is the Penal Code mentioned in the Sheriff’s very own policy manual requiring that IF the highly discouraged practice of evidence guns are to be sold, that it MUST be done via a public auction. 

Sheriff Moore praised the DA’s findings in a press release also dated March 28, 2017. Moore also inappropriately thanks the FBI, even though they have yet to say anything publicly about his case. Regardless, Sheriff Moore is currently a free man. DA Salazar blames her former Chief Investigator Kenneth Melgoza for the investigation taking so long. 24 hours prior to DA Salazar publicly blaming Melgoza, I posted on Facebook Melgoza’s formal claim that DA Salazar had retaliated against him for not disclosing his participation in an investigation being conducted by the FBI. Melgoza went on to say under penalty of a felony that he refused to engage in “illegal and unethical conduct”. 

Claim filed against DA Verber-Salazar by her Chief Investgator

GunGate’s investigation was limited to alleged criminal actions occurring only between 2011 and 2012. Approximately $100,000 worth of gun sale proceeds from 29 guns were shuffled into an off the books in-store credit that the DA, Sheriff and County Counsel so far refuse to publicly share any accounting of whatsoever, despite this being taxpayer money. 

Salazer admits selling stripped evidence to employees at “substantial discounts” is “of concern” and that “these practices should not continue in the future”. Yet in the very same letter she also says this is not a criminal violation. Unfortunately the DA has chosen to do absolutely nothing to ensure “these practices” do not continue, SO THEY WILL. In fact things are getting much worse and growing in scale.

An interoffice Sheriff memo dated Oct 21, 2015 has now resurfaced which was written a few months AFTER the 7/26/15 Stockton Record’s front page article “SJ Sheriff’s Office Allegations that guns improperly sold, purchased” but BEFORE Stockton Record’s 4/26/16 front page article “DA investigates Gungate”. In both these two articles and in numerous television interviews, Moore boldly purports no evidence guns were sold. Again see DA Verber’s letter 3/28/17 that clearly states evidence guns WERE sold and in fact purchased by Sheriff employees including Moore himself.

This 2015 interoffice memo is highly disconcerting for a variety of truly horrific reasons, but some issues are specifically relevant to what is now being dubbed “GunGate II”. According to this memo, “there are approximately 750 handguns (and 200 long guns) that have been processed through IBIS, which can be released to their owners, however, this has not been done.” The memo also notes that the “gun vault is being used to store narcotic evidence” and that “much (meaning not all) stored here is placed in evidence envelopes”. 

How can drugs NOT in evidence envelopes be properly tracked?

 Is this part of the reason 10,000 pieces of evidence are alleged to be missing from the Sheriff’s evidence room? 

Why are approximately 950 guns not being returned to their owners “if they can be released”? 

Are these 950 guns being staged to be sold at a future date once the dust of GunGate I settles? 

If not, why are they still quietly being held even after the media is raising concerns about the mishandling of guns? 

Have all these been properly entered into the Automated Firearms System, unlike in GunGate I where documentation exists that clearly proves evidence guns were not entered? 

Will DA Tori Verber-Salazar protect nearly 1000 law-abiding citizens from having their guns stolen from them by the Sheriff in GunGate II, or will she handle it just as she did in GunGate I, where she expressed “concern”, but not enough to take actual legal action as she did in the case of CevicheGate. 

Why has Sheriff Moore hired back his former retired Assistant Sheriff Myron Kelso at a biweekly pay of over $5000 to clean up the evidence room if there isn’t a problem with the handling of evidence in the first place? 

Did the DA, FBI or US Attorney’s Office question why 950 guns have yet to be returned to their legal owners, or did they know about it? 

The entire public, including an approximate 1000 gun owners who are directly being severely impacted by this, deserves a comprehensive and honest response from DA Verber-Salazar. Will she even respond at all? She hasn’t so far  to 209 Times. 

If you or someone you know have ever had a missing or stolen firearm, jewelry or other items of value, contact the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office at 209 468-4310 to see if they will admit they might have it in their possession, but just do not want to give it back. 

209 Times will be releasing the October 2015 memo that call into question how a truly shocking and horrendous increase in rapes may be impacted by additional problems occurring within the Sheriff’s evidence room that have been documented by honest sheriff employees willing to risk their careers, and possibly even their very lives for justice. 

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