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Monday, March 4, 2024

Men found guilty of illegally selling guns in LA Koreatown

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A man was sentenced to prison for illegally selling dozens of firearms in LA Koreatown.

Especially in the days leading up to the first anniversary of the Monterey shooting on January 21, the fact that illegal gun sales have been taking place even in Koreatown raises alarm on security issues.

A federal judge, George H. Wu, convicted William Nirion Peña, 40, of illegally selling 27 firearms, including a “Glock switch” that converts semi-automatic pistols to automatic, in LA Koreatown.

Peña and his co-conspirator, Ellourth Eladio Simon, 32, who also lives in Koreatown, had been providing a variety of illegal firearms and ammunition since November 2021.

In particular, they traded illegal firearms in the parking lot of a major market in Koreatown.

According to federal prosecutors, the guns were mainly sold in the parking lot of Ralph’s Market near 3rd Street and Vermont Avenue and the parking lot of Vons Market across the street from Ralph’s Market.

Defendant Peña was a resident of Koreatown and had numerous photos and videos of firearms taken at his home, said Public Information Officer at United States Attorney’s​ Office, Ciaran McEvoy. “The firearms had no serial numbers, and Peña continued to procure firearms and parts used in mass shootings, such as silencers and Glock switches.”

Their crimes were uncovered when they were caught by an undercover law enforcement agent. Simon, a co-conspirator, was arrested in February 2022 after selling a firearm supplied by Peña to an undercover agent posing as a buyer.

Federal prosecutors conducted a joint investigation with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to make the arrests.

His co-conspirator, Simon, had already pleaded guilty in May of last year to one count of engaging in the business of dealing firearms without a license and one count of possessing a machine gun.

Meanwhile, Peña’s sentencing will take place on September 18 in federal court in Los Angeles. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison for the charges. Simon’s sentencing will be earlier, on February 1, and he could be sentenced to 15 years in prison.

BY YEOL JANG, JUNHAN PARK    [jang.yeol@koreadaily.com]