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Ex-Torrance police officer to plead guilty to federal charges of illegal gun dealing as a straw buyer

The courtyard at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives headquarters in Washington
(Rich Clement/Bloomberg)

A former Torrance police officer has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges that he acted as an illegal firearms dealer and used his police credentials to buy for others guns only cops can purchase, officials said Tuesday.

Lindley Alan Hupp, 32, was charged with being an unlicensed firearms dealer, as well as certifying he was the actual purchaser of a handgun, when, in fact, he was buying the gun for another person, federal prosecutors said.

As part of a plea agreement, the Long Beach resident agreed to plead guilty to two felony offenses — engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license and making a false statement in a federal firearm licensee’s records during the purchase of a firearm. Under the agreement, federal prosecutors will recommend a prison sentence of not more than 18 months.

That recommendation is not binding on the sentencing judge, who could impose a term of up to 15 years in prison.

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Hupp sold at least 48 firearms during an 8½-year period while employed by the Torrance Police Department, according to court records. Hupp sold two additional guns in 2011 while serving as an auxiliary police officer with the Pasadena Police Department, records show.

Hupp becomes the latest police officer caught by authorities using his badge to make a profit from weapons not available to the public. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which has cracked down on the illegal gun trade by cops, investigated the case with the FBI.

A Pasadena police lieutenant was convicted of similar firearms charges last year, admitting to selling at least 108 firearms. The case revealed a lucrative business in the kind of firearms Californians cannot purchase without a badge.

Hupp admitted that 36 of 48 firearms he “sold while employed at the TPD were ‘off roster’ firearms; that is, firearms that Hupp’s non-law enforcement customers could not have purchased directly from a licensed firearms dealer.”

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Hupp admitted “repeatedly exploiting the privilege” by reselling off-roster weapons soon after acquiring them. According to the deal, Hupp resold nearly half of the 36 off-roster guns within 30 days of having initially purchased them.

Hupp also admitted making a material false statement on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives form when he purchased a Glock 9mm handgun in November 2015.

Hupp, as part of the plea, agreed to surrender to local law enforcement 42 firearms currently in his possession.


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