Man who stashed 1,000 guns in Bel-Air mansion charged with 64 felony counts

John Bacon
A California man faces 64 felony counts after authorities say they found more than 1,000 guns at his home in the Bel-Air section of Los Angeles.

A California man faces 64 felony counts after authorities say they found a cache of more than 1,000 guns at his home in the exclusive, upscale Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Girard Damian Saenz, 58, pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that included 23 counts of possession of assault weapons. His arrest in May drew a barrage of media coverage to the expansive residence not far from the Playboy Mansion.

Los Angeles police said the raid represented one of the largest gun seizures in city history. Preliminary investigations produced no connection to terrorism or other crimes, police have said.

Police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives swept through the home after receiving a tip of a person "conducting illegal firearms transaction outside the scope of the federal firearm license."

Aerial video from the seizure showed stacks of rifles, handguns and shotguns on sheets scattered across the driveway. Boxes of ammunition were stacked high on a table.

“I had never seen so many weapons in my career of 31 years,” police Lt. Chris Ramirez said at the time. “That’s such a big arsenal in a residence like this, in this type of neighborhood. It’s astounding.”

Police have said Saenz has a federal "curios and relics" gun license but was not authorized to sell weapons. He was released from custody on $50,000 bail shortly after the raid.

Other charges include 17 counts of transfer of a handgun with no licensed firearms dealer, 15 counts of unlawful assault weapon rifle activity, seven counts of possession of a short-barreled rifle or shotgun, and two counts of possession of a destructive device.

Saenz posted $100,000 bond and was again released. If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum sentence of 48 years, eight months in state prison. 

The case remains under investigation, Los Angeles police said.

Contributing: Doug Stanglin

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 1,000 guns: Bel-Air man faces charges after massive weapons seizure