Published March 19, 2014
The owner of a California gun parts store says he plans to take legal action after federal agents raided his business, confiscating computers, customer lists and 80 percent lower receivers as part of an investigation into alleged federal firearms violations.
Dimitrios Karras, owner of Ares Armor in National City, told Fox5SanDiego.com the raid by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents took place just days after the company obtained a temporary restraining order against the agency.
“There were women and children inside our retail establishment when the (ATF) agents came in with guns drawn,” Karras told the station. "They came into our firearms manufacturing facility saying, ‘Arms up!’ like they were invading Iraq.”
The ATF says their investigation into Ares Armor stems from the sale of a new plastic version of the 80 percent lower receiver, which can be used to build AR-15 rifles, according to the report.
Although certain receivers may be sold and purchased legally, the agency claims the company was selling receivers manufactured differently with two parts, making them illegal to sell.
Karras said he had agreed to turn over the lower receivers to the ATF last week. He said he requested the restraining order to prevent agents from obtaining customer information.
"We gave them a black eye publicly,” Karras said. “They tried to do an underhanded deal with us. They said, ‘Hey hush, hush. Keep it secret and nobody’s going to know that we took the customer list from you nobody’s going to know we took this from you.’”
The investigation has some Ares Armor customers on edge about how their information will be used.
“I'm kind of fearful and I'm a law abiding citizen,” Arnold Yaptangco, a Marine, told KNSD-TV. “I feel if they could do it to these guys 100 percent legit business, they could do it to anyone.They can just raid in and search for whatever reason."
In a statement to the station, the ATF said, "Ares Armor is under investigation for federal firearms violation. We served a lawful federal search warrant at a number of their businesses."
When KNSD-TV asked the agency about customer information on the company's computers, a bureau spokesman replied with “no comment.”