The editor of a Sunland-Tujunga community newspaper has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison for illegally possessing firearms after advertising a “Guns for Haiti Quake Relief” drive, according to the U.S attorney’s office.
David “Doc” DeMulle, 75, editor in chief of The Foothills Paper, possessed 25 firearms and hundreds of pounds of ammunition he was forbidden to have because of previous criminal convictions for perjury and welfare fraud in 1990, prosecutors said.
He pleaded guilty last year to a charge of illegally possessing firearms and was sentenced on Monday by U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright III.
DeMulle remains free on bond while he appeals the denial of two pretrial motions, said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles.
His lawyer, Adam Braun, did not respond to telephone and email messages.
DeMulle was arrested in 2015 after he came to the attention of Los Angeles police and agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when he advertised the earthquake relief effort in his newspaper. The ad sought donations of firearms, which were then to be sold with the proceeds sent to the relief effort.
DeMulle said he never sent money to Haiti and he denied receiving firearms as a result of the ad, which he called “a joke.”
“We received about $50,000 in expendable medical supplies from USC Medical Center and shipped them to a relief agency,” he said in an email.
After DeMulle illegally accepted two firearms from undercover police officers who had seen the ad, searches of his home and business turned up 23 additional guns and hundreds of pounds of ammunition, prosecutors said.
“The investigation also revealed that DeMulle had previously placed classified ads in The Foothills Paper soliciting firearms, which resulted in him purchasing several firearms from a private citizen while falsely claiming that he possessed a federal firearms dealer’s license and would handle the firearms transfer paperwork,” the U.S. attorney’s office said in a press release.