SANTA BARBARA — An illegal diversification of goods proved the downfall for a legitimate wholesale paper merchant who branched out into the sale of close-combat weapons.
Alejandro Francisco Domeno is the owner of the well-established business Pacific Paper Products, where for many years local business accounts have accessed wholesale paper goods. But as his retail paper accounts struggled amidst today’s economy, Domeno began pulling in revenue through illicit means.
Domeno, 44, and his employee Efrain Moreno, 48, were caught up Wednesday in Operation Gator Roll, the Santa Barbara Police Department’s crackdown on criminal street gangs and those who abet murder, racketeering, conspiracy and drug trafficking.
Moving from paper products to illegal goods appears to have been profitable, as undercover officers discovered an active weapons marketing ring at Domeno’s paper goods warehouse to the extent that Domeno maintained display cases of weapons, complete with price tags for nunchaku sticks, daggers, brass knuckles, switchblade knives and penknives.
Domeno is alleged to have offered the sale of more lethal and difficult to obtain weapons, and, along with Moreno, was booked on charges of possession and sales of illegal weapons.