Sacto 9-1-1
September 18, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened to former sheriff's deputies accused of illegally selling firearms?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: What happened to former Sacramento County Sheriff's deputies Thomas Lu and Ryan McGowan, who were charged with illegally selling firearms?
Submitted by: NJepsen, Sacramento

ANSWER: Sheriff's deputies Thomas Lu and Ryan McGowan were among four people indicted by a federal grand jury in May 2012 in a case involving what officials said was the illegal purchase and sale of dozens of high-powered pistols.

Lu and McGowan were both charged with dealing firearms without a license.

McGowan also was charged with conspiracy to make a false statement with respect to firearms records. In addition, he was charged in Sacramento Superior Court with selling large-capacity magazines, and being in possession of assault weapons and steroids.

Under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Lu pleaded guilty to dealing firearms without a license. A status conference regarding his sentencing, which had been scheduled for Aug. 29, has been continued to Dec. 19. According to court documents, the postponement was necessary because charges against some other defendants in the case are still pending and may influence the court in determining Lu's sentence.

According to online court records, McGowan's trial in Sacramento Superior Court is scheduled Nov. 14. The trial for McGowan and two other defendants, Robert Snellings and Ulysses Simpson Grant Early IV, is scheduled to begin Dec. 2 in federal court.

Snellings of Rancho Mureita, a licensed firearms dealer, is accused of using his business to help the deputies buy and sell weapons. Early, a Sacramento resident, is accused of purchasing one of the weapons involved in the scheme.

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