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United States v. 1

September 30, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
1,679 FIREARMS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS. MARIA FERRO, CLAIMANT,



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Patrick J. Walsh United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW FOLLOWING BENCH TRIAL

Following a bench trial on September 2 and 3, 2009, the Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

I. FINDINGS OF FACT

1. Claimant Maria Ferro married Robert Ferro in 1979. In 1983, the couple moved to their home at 2045 Tapia Way in Upland, California.

2. Some time between 1983 and 1991, Robert Ferro began collecting firearms. Ferro obtained federal firearms licenses to do so. It is not exactly clear when Robert Ferro obtained the guns that are the subject of this forfeiture, but the Court presumes that all 1,679 guns were obtained by Robert Ferro between 1983 and May 1992.

3. In July 1991, Robert Ferro was arrested by Baldwin Park Police for possessing explosives.

4. The following day, police searched the Ferro residence at 2045 Tapia Way and found numerous firearms and seized some of them.

5. Some time later in 1991, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms & Explosives ("ATF") agents returned some of the guns to Robert Ferro.

6. On October 28, 1991, Robert Ferro submitted an application to renew his federal firearms licenses (9-33-036001-1M-88271 and 9-33-036001-1M-88272).

7. On November 16, 1991, Robert Ferro was charged in state court with violating sections 12303.2 and 12312 of the California Penal Code, relating to possession of explosive ingredients and possession of an explosive. Trial was set for May 1992.

8. On May 1, 1992, Robert Ferro conveyed in writing to his wife Maria Ferro "all of his property and possessions," including his firearm collection.

9. Less than two weeks later, on May 13, 1992, Robert Ferro was convicted in state court of possessing an explosive. On August 11, 1992, he was sentenced to two years in prison.

10. Robert Ferro appealed his conviction to the state appellate court.

11. ATF denied Robert Ferro's applications for federal firearms licenses. Ferro's lawyer challenged ATF's denial of his federal firearms licenses. In October 1992, ATF Assistant General Counsel Larry L. Nickell wrote to Robert Ferro's counsel informing him, among other things, that Ferro could continue his licensed operations under his now- expired firearms licenses until 30 days after his conviction became final. Nickell explained in the letter that his conviction would be "final" under the regulations when all appeals were exhausted.

12. At some unknown date but presumably after his conviction, Robert Ferro advised Maria Ferro that he was not prohibited from ...


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