A Southern California attorney awaits arraignment Feb. 27, after a federal grand jury Feb. 15 returned a five-count indictment that alleges he was in possession of a number of illegal firearms and a fake FBI credential.
According to the criminal complaint filed earlier in the case, Sergio J. Lopez de Tirado was arrested Dec. 21 after a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy found him asleep in the passenger’s side of a pickup truck parked with its doors open blocking a driveway in the city of Norco. According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, the deputy’s search of the vehicle yielded a fake FBI ID, multiple guns, an unregistered MK9 9mm semiautomatic rifle and two unregistered silencers. The officer claims that Lopez de Tirado, who is also a former Rialto police officer, had a hand grenade strapped to a holster under his arm and that all the weapons were loaded.
According to the affidavit, Lopez de Tirado was subsequently arrested and released on bail, but arrested again Jan. 30 after a California Highway Patrol officer found him and a passenger parked in a truck facing the wrong way on the shoulder of the interstate in Corona. Lopez de Tirado was taken into custody after the office found that his driver’s license was suspended. A search of the truck, which was impounded, yielded a loaded and unregistered short barrel assault-rifle-type semiautomatic weapon.
According to a spokesman for the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting the federal case, Lopez de Tirado remains in federal custody. He is set to be arraigned Feb. 27 in federal court in Riverside.
Lopez de Tirado didn’t immediately respond to an email sent to the address associated with his California State Bar registration. Neither did Roger H Ponce Jr., a federal public defender in Riverside who appears on the docket associated with Lopez de Tirado’s criminal complaint.
Lopez de Tirado has faced four bar disciplinary proceedings since being admitted to practice in 2008, according to online records from the state bar. According to bar records, his disciplinary cases have involved a failure to return a client file and unearned fee, an improper conflict of interest and violations of court orders. Most recently the state bar suspended his license to practice for six months in May 2016 following a 2012 jury conviction for disobeying a court order.
According to bar records, Lopez de Tirado holds a law degree from Western State University College of Law in Fullerton.