Father and Daughter Charged with Illegal Possession of Firearms, Ammunition

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - An ex-con and his daughter accused of possessing an illegal cache of weapons in their Temple City home are due in court next month for arraignment on felony charges, the top prosecutors of the county and the state announced today.

Steven David Ponder, 57, was charged Tuesday with seven felony counts, including possession of a firearm by a felon, unlawful possession of ammunition, possession of a destructive device, possession of an assault weapon, possession of a machine gun and possession of a short-barreled rifle or shotgun. The felony complaint also alleges that he was previously convicted of counterfeiting money and possession of a machine gun in 2001.

Riley Elizabeth Ponder, 27, faces felony counts of possession of an assault weapon, possession of destructive device and prohibited transfer of firearms, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney Office.

``One way we as prosecutors can help prevent gun violence is to strictly enforce state laws that prohibit people convicted of certain crimes from owning or possessing firearms,'' District Attorney Jackie Lacey said during a news conference in downtown Los Angeles. ``I am committed to prosecuting individuals who violate court orders by failing to give up their guns as they pose a serious threat to our community.''

She was joined by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

``We must do all we possibly can to remove weapons from individuals who should not be in possession of them,'' he said. ``At the California Department of Justice, public safety is our number one priority.''

Prosecutors said that on Feb. 14, officers searched Steven Ponder's home and discovered a stockpile of illegal weapons and ammunition. During the search, authorities also discovered that his daughter was in illegal possession of a weapon and ammunition, according to prosecutors.

Riley Ponder was immediately taken into custody, posted a bond the following day and was given a March 8 arraignment date. Her father surrendered last Thursday and was released on bail the following day. He is scheduled to be arraigned on March 19.

If convicted as charged, the elder Ponder faces up to eight years in state prison, while his daughter could face five years behind bars.

``We should all be proud of the work our Division of Law Enforcement special agents do every day without fanfare,'' Becerra said. ``They place themselves in dangerous, difficult situations to keep guns out of the wrong hands and to keep us safe."

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