Sportsmans Outlet in Humble Texas- Possible Indictments


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Acera
March 9, 2010, 05:15 PM
I have not seen a thread on this, but just as it re-opens to the public after a massive fire, it will probably shut down. It was by far the nicest indoor range in the area, and is still open. Not sure how long, but it is doing business. The owner is not there, but the staff will take care of you. Might be a moral to this story, don't deal with crooked cops. Hopefully he will be cleared, and this is all just a big misunderstanding. And to think how much money could have been put into the county coffers from selling these guns.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6882313.html



ATF probes loss of guns from Cleveland police unit
By CINDY HORSWELL
Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle
Feb. 24, 2010, 12:05AM



Federal authorities are investigating whether more than 500 weapons missing from the Cleveland Police Department's evidence room were part of an illegal firearms-trafficking scheme.

Court documents also connect Liberty County sheriff's Capt. Harold Kelley and others to the gun-trafficking allegations. Kelley previously served as custodian of the evidence room at the Cleveland Police Department and had control over one of only two keys to the locked room.

The other key was held by then-Assistant Cleveland Police Chief Henry Patterson. When Patterson was elected sheriff in 2009, Kelley went to work as a captain for the new sheriff. The guns were discovered missing in January 2009 during an inventory taken after Kelley departed.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives declined to discuss the probe. “It's an ongoing investigation, and we can't comment,” said Franceska Perot, the bureau's spokeswoman in Houston.

Yet, a sworn affidavit by ATF agent Alex Johny filed in December to obtain a search warrant for a gun shop, Sportsman's Outlet and Indoor Range in Humble, links Kelley to the missing guns.

The affidavit states the gun shop owner, Gary Lee, reported that Kelley had given him guns from 2007 to 2008 that were supposed to be destroyed in exchange for ammunition, targets and firearm-cleaning supplies.
112 weapons seized

As a result of the search in December, authorities confiscated 112 of the contraband firearms that Lee reported receiving from Kelley.

Kelley referred all questions to his Houston attorney, Jack Zimmermann.

“These are mere allegations unaccompanied by any proof,” said Zimmermann. “Kelley is a well-respected longtime peace officer, who deserves the benefit of the doubt. No charges are filed.”

Lee did not return phone calls. He serves as a Liberty County reserve deputy, said Capt. Steve Greene with the Liberty County Sheriff's Office.

According to the affidavit, Cleveland's police chief at that time, Ike Hines, stated he never gave permission for any weapons to be taken to the gun shop.

Hines had been approached by Patterson and others who suggested Cleveland's contraband firearms could be sold to generate funds for the department, the affidavit said.

Hines never authorized the transfer or disposal of any of the weapons, the affidavit said.

However, Cleveland Municipal Magistrate Bob Steely acknowledged signing several “destruction orders” and had trusted Kelley to handle things properly, according to the affidavit.
Listed as destroyed

Of the 112 firearms recovered from Lee, 98 had been listed by Kelley as destroyed, the affidavit said. Mystery remains over what happened to the other guns still missing from the Cleveland police evidence room. Among the missing weapons are 12-gauge shotguns, Glock pistols and .357 revolvers.

The affidavit also notes that the gun shop's log books on the acquisition and disposition of these weapons were sketchy. For some, there were no records at all, the affidavit said.

During this time, Kelley also received 26 guns from Lee for which there were no records found to document the transfer of such a large cache of weapons, the affidavit said.

The Texas Rangers, who investigated the missing weapons before ATF took over, thought turning contraband weapons over to a gun shop looked “suspicious and irregular,” the affidavit said.

“Texas law enforcement agencies generally attend to the physical destruction of contraband firearms themselves … through the use of smelters, crushing devices and shredding machines,” said the affidavit, adding that the process is usually witnessed by officers.

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