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Santa Barbara Business Accused of Selling Illegal Weapons

Police say a store owner and employee may have sold the weapons to gang members

Alejandro Francisco Domeño
Alejandro Francisco Domeño

Santa Barbara narcotics detectives on Tuesday arrested two men for suspicion of possessing and selling illegal weapons.

Dozens of illegal weapons were seized, including brass knuckles, switch-blade knives, nunchucks, pen-knives and daggers. The arrests and weapon seizures followed an undercover operation that included illegal weapons being sold to an undercover police officer.

The transactions were made under the cover of Pacific Paper Products, a legitimate business operating at 132 Garden St., No. 39. The arrested men include the business owner, Alejandro Francisco Domeño, 44, and an employee, Efrain Castellanos Moreno, 48.

The roots of this investigation began with Operation Gator Roll, conducted in October 2008. During the course of the investigation and hundreds of subsequent interviews spanning several months, intelligence on dozens of other criminal cases was uncovered.

In this case, detectives received second- and third-hand reports of possible sales of illegal weapons. The reports included allegations that weapons were sold to and used by gang members during crimes of violence.

Efrain Castellanos Moreno
Efrain Castellanos Moreno

Within the past few months, an undercover police officer determined the business location, identified the suspects and made several hand-to-hand purchases.

Detectives say the suspects’ illicit business grew to the point where they maintained a display case of weapons with price tags and facilitated the purchase of other, more difficult-to-obtain weapons.

— Paul McCaffrey is a lieutenant with the Santa Barbara Police Department.

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