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Charges Filed Against California Deputy for Gun Violations and Alleged Gang Ties

A Sheriff’s Deputy from Southern California stands accused of leading a double life as a member of an outlaw motorcycle gang, with police discovering an array of firearms at his residence, including a stolen shotgun from his own department.

Christopher Bingham, a 45-year-old Deputy with 18 years of service in the Sheriff’s Department, was apprehended when he was spotted riding alongside two individuals affiliated with a local Outlaw Motorcycle Gang on March 23. Following this incident, he was found in possession of an unloaded, unregistered firearm and was subsequently detained at the Smith Correctional Facility before being released later.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department had been monitoring Bingham since January 2024, after receiving information that he had been associating with members of the said gang, prompting an official inquiry into his activities.

Upon his arrest in March, investigators from the Gangs/Narcotics Division were granted a search warrant for Bingham’s residence in Twentynine Palms, California. During the search, law enforcement uncovered a significant cache of around 160 firearms, which included a fully automatic assault rifle equipped with a grenade launcher. Additionally, they found destructive devices, silencers, gang-related paraphernalia, and a stolen shotgun belonging to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Shannon Dicus condemned Bingham’s actions, stating that they were not only concerning but also reprehensible, tarnishing the reputation of the department as a whole. Consequently, Bingham has been placed on compulsory leave, and the case has been referred to the District Attorney’s Office, resulting in the filing of multiple felony charges against him.

The charges leveled against Bingham include possession of a machine gun, possession of a short-barreled rifle, grand theft of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm, possession of destructive devices, possession of silencers, and involvement in a criminal street gang, with enhancements for gang association.

Following the discovery of his extensive arsenal, Bingham’s bail was established at $500,000. Despite the department not explicitly naming the motorcycle gang in question, District Attorney Jason Anderson suggested Bingham’s affiliation with the Mongols.

Bingham, who also operated a gun store called O’Three Tactical in Twentynine Palms alongside his Sheriff’s Department duties, faced scrutiny for his involvement in a murder trial in 2019. During the trial, he disclosed that he had sold a handgun to the defendant, Rafael Aikens, prior to the latter’s arrest for a double homicide, although it was not confirmed whether the firearm sold by Bingham was used in the commission of the crimes.