The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office received about 200 weapons through a federal program and Sheriff Joe Arpaio admits that over the years his office has lost track of eight handguns and a rifle. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Some of the weapons that are being returned. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is returning military equipment once given to his department by the federal government.
The sheriff said that after taking office in 1993, he took advantage of a federal program offering surplus military items.
The department received approximately 200 weapons and Arpaio admitted that over the years, his office has lost track of eight military-grade handguns and one rifle.
He said that is why in 2012, the federal government suspended his office from taking part in the program.
So, where did those weapons go?
"We don't know," Arpaio said. "We did put the record into national NCIC (National Crime Information Center) just in case. We don't know if deputies retired, took the guns with them. We're only talking about eight. And so we keep researching to find out where these missing weapons are."
"They're using those eight guns as an excuse to terminate my program," Arpaio said Tuesday.
The sheriff said that over the years his office returned about 160 of the weapons and replaced them with weapons purchased for his deputies.
"We have plenty of our own equipment," Arpaio said. "We have enough fire power to fight back."
He added, "I'll compare the weapons we've paid for anytime with the weapons they're making a big issue of."
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