Hundreds of guns and multiple cases of ammunition were seized from a Lakeside home during a raid tied to a year-long, multi-agency crackdown on San Diego County gangs, according to a complaint unsealed Thursday.
Inside Robert Thomas Welsh's home, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department found 228 firearms, including AR-15 rifles and guns with destroyed serial numbers, multiple high capacity magazines and firearms silencers.
Welsh is one of 27 people indicted by the Southern District of California U.S. Attorney's Office for their alleged connection to criminal gang activity in San Diego County, according to a complaint unsealed Thursday.
Welsh told deputies that he considers himself a stay at home dad and has been colecting guns for more than 15 years, the complaint said.
The defendants were charged with racketeering, drug trafficking, and felony firearm possession, among others. All entered a plea of not guilty to their charges.
If convicted, the defendants could face anywhere from three years to life in prison. They are set to next appear in court on September 25.
About 200 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies raided dozens of locations in San Diego County before dawn Thursday looking for people who were believed to be street gang members and members of the Mexican Mafia prison gang, U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman said.
A total of 20 people are in custody. Another five suspects remain at large, the attorney's office said.
About seven pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of over $150,000 was also seized as a result of the raids.
The raids came as the result of an investigation into drug and gun-related conspiracies that includes allegations of attempted kidnapping and attempted armed robbery, both of which were thwarted by law enforcement, according to the the U.S. attorney’s office.
The U.S. attorney's office said the year-long investigation was part of Project Safe Neighborhoods backed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.