WEST PALM BEACH — After at least three years of illegally selling firearms at gun shows throughout Florida — mainly in West Palm Beach — and telling undercover federal agents that selling guns without any papers is the way to do it, a 55-year-old former Miami Beach Police officer is facing federal charges in Palm Beach County.
Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agents started their investigation into Jose A. Quintana in March 2009.
Facing a charge of dealing firearms without a license, Quintana attended his first appearance Monday morning. A judge ordered he be held on $200,000 bail, court records show.
After investigating Quintana's bank accounts, an ATF agent found that from 2008 to 2011 Quintana deposited about $107,946, which was cash made solely from selling the firearms at shows across Florida, including in West Palm Beach, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Miami.
"It appears that his principal objective is to obtain a profit under the guise of making ‘private sales,'" the complaint says.
Income from KAPP Industries, who currently employs Quintana, and the Miami-Dade County Public School District, who employs Quintana's wife, was not included in those deposits, according to a federal complaint.
One of the first guns that was investigated by ATF was a Glock 9 mm pistol found in Guatemala in October 2009.
ATF agents traced the gun back to Quintana and a partner, identified only as R.V. in the complaint.
A Palm Beach County School Board Police officer sold the Glock 9 mm pistol to R.V. who the officer saw many times at gun shows in Palm Beach and Broward counties. The officer, who became a witness in the case, identified Quintana as R.V.'s partner, according to the complaint.
R.V. and two other people, identified as T.V. and J.R. in the complaint, also are being investigated as unlicensed dealers.
In September 2011, Quintana, R.V. and T.V. were selling about 148 guns, mostly handguns, at a show in West Palm Beach.
Two months later Quintana sold another gun in West Palm Beach to an undercover agent. The agent told Quintana he wanted a gun for his personal protection. Quintana recommended a Glock 9 mm handgun for $600. The agent did not have to fill out any paperwork, the complaint says.
Just three months ago Quintana sold an undercover agent a Sig Sauer handgun at a gun show in Fort Myers. He told the agent the benefits of a "private sale" rather than buying from a licensed dealer.
Quintana said by buying a gun in a private sale the buyer can "avoid possible future government regulations that might limit firearm ownership, taxation and the buyer can transfer that firearm to whoever he wants," the complaint says.
In May Quintana met with an undercover agent at a Shell gas station in Miami-Dade County, where the agent bought a Glock handgun. Quintana told the agent he started "acquiring guns as a hobby."
Quintana explained that the law "allows an individual to privately sell a reasonable unspecified quantity of firearms," according to the complaint.
He told the agent, "Let us say, 12, 24, 36, 50 firearms per year. Let us say, reasonable … I surpassed that a long time ago."
He also admitted to "constantly" spinning funds he makes from gun sales to enable him to continue doing business, including paying his bills, the complaint says.