LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that his office has secured a conviction against Barkochba Botach, a South Los Angeles firearms dealer, for the illegal sale of two firearms with large capacity magazines. A security officer, who acted as a straw purchaser and obtained the firearms from Botach’s dealership, was also convicted earlier this year in connection with this case.
“This conviction sends the strong message to firearms dealers that my office will aggressively enforce key gun violence prevention laws,” said Feuer.
Following a five day jury trial, Barkochba Botach, a licensed firearms dealer and owner of Botach Tactical, was found guilty of one count of sale of large-capacity magazines and one count of sale of more than one handgun within a 30-day period. Sentencing is scheduled for June 6, 2016 in Department 117.
In January 2016, Amelia Suarez, a civilian employed with the LA County Sheriff’s Department as a security officer at West Los Angeles College working in connection with Botach, entered a plea of no contest to conducting a firearms transaction where neither party holds a dealer’s license. Suarez was sentenced to 36 months of probation, 300 hours of community service, as well as a gun safety class.
Deputy City Attorney Amanda Wong successfully prosecuted the cases.
On October 14, 2014, Suarez purchased two Smith & Wesson 9mm pistols from Botach Tactical, located at 3423 West 43rd Place in Leimert Park. Each firearm was sold with three magazines, each with a 17-round capacity.
Botach gave Suarez an improper exemption available only to sworn law enforcement personnel, which allowed her to purchase the large-capacity magazines and more than one handgun in a 30-day period.
Suarez purchased one firearm for herself and one on behalf of a long-time family friend. On the ATF Firearms Transaction Record, however, Suarez claimed she was purchasing both firearms for herself, effectively bypassing state law safeguards against straw purchasers. Botach delivered both firearms to Suarez on October 28, 2014. In early 2015, Suarez transferred one of the guns directly to her friend informally, without going through the proper registration procedures and background checks necessary to legally transfer a firearm under California law. Shortly afterward, the friend allegedly used the firearm, still registered in Suarez’ name, to commit a homicide.
A leader in preventing gun violence, Feuer created the Gun Violence Prevention Unit in his office and has worked aggressively to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and children. City Attorney Feuer has brought charges against parents who did not properly store firearms which later fell into the hands of their children. Working with the LAPD, he created protocols to assure domestic violence perpetrators do not have weapons. In a groundbreaking national effort, Feuer joined with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. to co-found and chair Prosecutors Against Gun Violence--an independent, non-partisan coalition devoted to prosecutorial and policy solutions to the public health and safety crisis of gun violence.
As a Los Angeles City Councilmember, Feuer wrote laws prohibiting the sale of large capacity magazines and the sale of more than one handgun within a 30-day period.