California Department of Justice agents have seized more than 500 firearms from a Clovis man who is prohibited from owning guns, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced Wednesday.
Albert Sheakalee, 59, was arrested Nov. 12 for illegally possessing the firearms. He was released from jail after posting $11,000 bail.
State Department of Justice agents seized 209 handguns, 88 shotguns, 234 rifles, 181 standard capacity magazines, 10 high capacity magazines, 100,521 rounds of various ammunition and 10 assault weapons, including a .50 caliber bolt action rifle, from Sheakalee’s home in Clovis.
Sheakalee is in an Armed & Prohibited Persons System (APPS) database due to a prior mental health hold, which prohibits an individual from possessing firearms, authorities said.
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But as of Wednesday, Sheakalee has not been charged, according to Fresno County Superior Court records.
Steve Wright, an assistant district attorney, said the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office has not yet received any Department of Justice reports to review for potential prosecution.
He also said DOJ agents could refer the case to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
DOJ agents seized 209 handguns, 88 shotguns, 234 rifles, 181 standard capacity magazines, 10 high capacity magazines, 100,521 rounds of various ammunition and 10 assault weapons, including a .50 caliber bolt action rifle.
“Removing firearms from dangerous and violent individuals who pose a threat to themselves and the public is a top priority for the California Department of Justice,” Harris said in the news release. “I thank our Bureau of Firearms special agents for their bravery in carrying out these dangerous investigations and their commitment to keeping our communities safe.”
A check of the Fresno County court computer system shows that Sheakalee has no prior criminal history. He is the owner of the Green Gables Care Home in Clovis. Efforts to reach him by telephone Wednesday were unsuccessful.
The news release says APPS works to identify individuals who previously procured firearms, but later became barred from legally owning them because they were convicted of a felony or a violent misdemeanor, placed under a domestic violence restraining order, or suffer from serious mental illness. California is the first and only state in the U.S. to establish an automated system for tracking handgun and assault weapon owners who might fall into a prohibited status.
In October, DOJ agents and the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department conducted an APPS operation that resulted in the seizure of 82 firearms and 10 arrests. In May, DOJ agents and local law enforcement in Los Angeles County conducted a similar operation that resulted in the seizure of 254 firearms, 48,000 rounds of ammunition, and 18 illegal high-capacity magazines, as well as the arrest of 26 individuals.
In 2011, Harris sponsored SB 819 (Sen. Mark Leno) to allow the Department of Justice to use existing regulatory fees collected by gun dealers for purposes of regulatory and enforcement activities related to firearms, including management of APPS. This went into effect January 2012. In 2013, Harris sponsored SB 140 to appropriate $24 million in funding from gun dealer fees to help support the APPS program. The legislation went into effect immediately in May 2013.
In addition, the news release said, in the last two years, the Department of Justice has doubled the average number of guns seized annually and increased the number of investigations per month by nearly 300 percent, allowing special agents to conduct 17,465 investigations as of Oct. 30, 2015.