Hookah lounge owner sold ‘ghost guns,’ a Tommy gun and drugs out of downtown L.A. business

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A hookah lounge owner has pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges for selling narcotics and nearly a dozen firearms — including so-called ghost guns — to a confidential informant out of his downtown Los Angeles business, according to court documents.

Hovik Dagesian, 42, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, according to federal prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California.

Dagesian was the owner of DTLA Hookah on St Vincent Court in late 2020 when he was introduced to a confidential informant through a mutual friend, prosecutors said.


California’s law banning the marketing of firearms to minors is probably unconstitutional under the 1st Amendment, a federal appellate court ruled Wednesday.

Sept. 13, 2023

The informant, who was not named in court papers but had previously worked for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, told authorities about Dagesian and set up another time to meet with the lounge owner.

Between October 2020 and early 2021, the informant met with Dagesian four times at the hookah lounge and purchased 11 firearms, according to federal prosecutors. In addition to the weapons, the informant bought 163 grams of methamphetamine from Dagesian, according to court papers.

Some of the guns that the informant purchased had no serial numbers on them, making them untraceable. These types of weapons are known as ghost guns.

Lancaster, which has never had its own police department, will hire eight ‘peace officers’ to help L.A. County sheriff’s deputies respond to crimes.

Sept. 12, 2023

The buyer paid Dagesian $34,250 in total for the guns and narcotics. Among the weapons purchased were an AR-15-type short-barrel rifle, a Tommy gun and a 9-millimeter pistol, officials said.

When federal agents executed a raid on Dagesian’s business in January 2021, they found almost six ounces of methamphetamine as well as 215 rounds of ammunition and numerous weapons, including a sawed-off shotgun, officials said.

Dagesian is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 8. If convicted on all charges, he faces at least 10 years in federal prison.