California Man Found with More than 300 Recall Election Ballots, Drugs, and Weapons

Authorities in Torrance, California, found more than 300 unopened California recall election ballots, as well as a pistol and drugs, inside the vehicle of a suspect who was found passed out in a 7-Eleven parking lot. Investigators are now seeking to determine how and why the election ballots ended up in the suspect’s car.

The unnamed suspect was arrested by Torrance Police just before 11 p.m. on August 16 and was released on his own recognizance. ABC 7 reports that the man was a felon, now being charged with multiple weapons, drug, and forgery charges.

A loaded weapon, Xanax tablets, methamphetamine, thousands of pieces of mail, a scale, various California driver’s licenses, IDs, and credit cards in other people’s identities were discovered along with the ballots. Sgt. Mark Ponegalek of the Torrance Police Department stated that “Inside the vehicle, the officers found a loaded handgun, some narcotics, and then they found a bunch of mail and what turned out to be over 300 election ballots in the backseat of the vehicle. They appeared to be in a box, but they were also kind of strewn across the backseat of the vehicle, and so there was just a large portion of mail in that backseat.”

Ponegalek also said that “the election ballots, they were un-tampered with, unopened, a little over 300 of them found, primarily from addresses in Lawndale. There were some from Compton. We’re still trying to figure out where all these belonged to at this time, so we’re working with the Los Angeles election office as well as the U.S. Postal Inspector.” Police said those identified as a result of the probe would be given a new election ballot.

The case is reportedly being investigated by the LA County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit and the US Postal Service.

The Los Angeles County Registrar’s office claimed that there’s no evidence the ballots were taken with the intent of influencing the recall election because other stolen mail was discovered with them, telling ABC 7, “there’s nothing to indicate this was focused on the election.”

With the recall election scheduled for September 14, Governor Newsom is fighting for his political life after imposing some of the strictest Covid-19 regulations in the country, which he was later infamously caught violating. Despite the state’s overwhelmingly Democratic tilt, recent polls show a dead heat among likely voters on whether to remove him.


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