Girard Damian Saenz, 58, is charged with 23 counts of possession of an assault weapon, 17 counts of transfer of handgun with no licensed firearms dealer, 15 counts of unlawful assault weapon/.50 Browning Machine Gun rifle activity, seven counts of possession of a short-barreled rifle or shotgun, and two counts of possession of a destructive device, the office said.
State law prohibits the manufacture, distribution, transportation, importation and sale of any assault rifle or .50 BMG rifles, except in specific circumstances, according to the California Legislature.
Saenz pleaded not guilty during a Monday morning arraignment at the Los Angeles Superior Court. If convicted of the charges, he could face up to nearly 49 years in prison.
When he was arrested, authorities said there was no indication Saenz used the guns in crimes.
‘A Hoarder’s House’
Saenz’s property resembled “a hoarder’s house” and it took 30 law enforcement officers more than 15 hours to clear the house and remove all the weapons, a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation told CNN.
“I had never seen so many weapons in my career of 31 years,” police Lt. Chris Ramirez said. “That’s such a big arsenal in a residence like this, in this type of neighborhood. It’s astounding.”
In aerial footage from the scene, hundreds of guns are seen scattered on what appeared to be blankets in the driveway. The weapons ranged from handguns to rifles. Police were seen taking inventory.
— Newtown Action (@NewtownAction) May 9, 2019
A law enforcement official said back in May they had not found any evidence linking Saenz to terrorism.
Tip Regarding Illegal Firearms Sales
Acting on a tip regarding illegal firearms sales, police and federal agents served a search warrant at the home valued at millions of dollars in the posh Bel-Air neighborhood.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives said in a statement that authorities received a tip about a person “conducting illegal firearms transaction outside the scope of the federal firearm license” that the person possessed.
Saenz is a longtime companion of real estate mogul Cynthia Beck, who owns the property and many others in California, according to records cited by the Times.
Beck has three daughters with J. Paul Getty’s son Gordon Getty, the newspaper said. Beck bought the house in January 2001, but it remains unclear if she has any connection to the gun seizure.
It is unclear whether Beck lives at the home where the weapons were found. She could not be reached for comment.
— Tom (T.J.) Wait (@CBSLATom) May 8, 2019
Saenz has been a licensed general building contractor since 1994 and operates a business in San Diego called Gerry Saenz and Associates, according to public records.
In 2015, LAPD seized 1,200 guns, seven tons of ammunition and $230,000 in cash from a home. The owner had died of natural causes and was found in his SUV outside. At the time, it was considered one of the largest weapon’s seizure from one home, the LAPD said.
Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips and The Associated Press contributed to this article.