BCSO sheriff addresses machine gun conspiracy scheme involving former sheriff
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office is setting the record straight about a new federal gun trafficking case linked to former sheriff Manny Gonzales.
Last week, a handful of gun collectors and law enforcement officers were indicted federally for allegedly using the system to build a collection of automatic weapons.
It’s important to note that even though Gonzales and former BCSO undersheriff Rudy Mora are named in the indictment, they are not charged.
John Allen, the current BCSO sheriff, said Tuesday that the department was not involved with the alleged scheme. Allen said that BCSO is so out of the loop, he’s concerned he was never notified there was a federal investigation into the scheme when he took office earlier this year.
Federal prosecutors say Gonzales and Mora helped gun sellers acquire restricted, fully-automatic weapons to re-sell or keep for personal use. This was reportedly happening between 2015 and 2020.
Federal documents say the two signed and submitted nearly 150 so-called “law letters” asking the feds to give an Albuquerque gun shop owner permission to obtain nearly 1,000 machine guns for alleged law enforcement demonstrations.
Sheriff Allen revealed Tuesday the department is still investigating if any of those demonstrations actually happened for BCSO. He said it appears no department funding was used to purchase any of those weapons.
Sheriff Allen did say that BCSO has roughly two dozen machine guns in its inventory, including some historical weapons, but those are no longer used in the field. They are conducting an audit to determine their origins.
Allen said there is a collection of 30 AK-47s in BCSO’s inventory that raised concerns last week after the indictment was released.
However, those guns were collected from Laguna Pueblo several years ago, where former BCSO undersheriff Mora served as police chief at one point. Allen says they immediately reached out to the federal investigators working this case, who confirmed none of those guns are connected to the scheme.