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No Charges Filed Yet in Firearms Case By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday August 12, 2005

No criminal charges have yet been filed against a Berkeley man arrested three weeks ago after police and firefighters discovered a massive cache of firearms and an indoor marijuana-growing operation in his apartment above an Adeline Street liquor store. 

Though police booked Leslie Tanigawa, 45, on suspicion of marijuana and firearms crimes, Berkeley Police spokesperson Officer Joe Okies said the district attorney’s office had not pressed charges. 

“I don’t know why,” said Okies. 

A representative of the district attorney’s office said Deputy DA John Adams had elected not to file charges, but could not say why. Adams is on vacation until Aug. 16. 

Inside the apartment, firefighters and police discovered scores of firearms, including a .50-caliber sniper rifle, assault rifles, pistols and a machine gun. 

Tanigawa was released on bail after the arrest, said Marti McKee, public information officer for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). 

McKee said no federal charges had been filed, in part because the ATF’s East Coast Firearms Technology Laboratory is still examining the seized weapons and explosives. 

Although a preliminary examination after the arrest indicated that some of the weapons were fully automatic, a violation of federal law, the U.S. Attorney’s Office normally seeks an indictment only after examination and test-firing. 

The same lab is also examining the explosives—so-called “loud reports” used in aerial fireworks displays—to verify that they are in fact functional devices. 

“It’s a formal process, and it can take a while because the agency has a heavy caseload,” she said.