Man arrested during FBI raid of Laguna Beach home

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Federal agents and Laguna Beach police officers served a search warrant Thursday in the 1100 block of Catalina Street. Courtesy photo

Federal agents executed a search warrant Thursday morning at a Laguna Beach home in the 1100 block of Catalina Street, authorities said.

The warrant was sealed and additional details were unavailable, said Rukelt Dalberis, a spokesperson for the FBI Los Angeles office. Federal authorities declined to comment on whether the Laguna Beach search was connected to the nationwide investigation of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Laguna Beach police officers assisted the FBI in their active investigation at the Catalina Street residence. Garrett Andrew Gauvain, 49, was arrested by Laguna Beach officers on suspicion of possessing a firearm in violation of a state law that prohibits people with certain misdemeanor convictions from owning firearms. 

He was booked at the Laguna Beach Police Department and later posted bail, Lt. Jim Cota, a Laguna Beach police spokesperson, wrote in an email.

In a phone interview with the Independent, Gauvain said he was at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 but never went up the building’s steps or inside.

“I never once got into a confrontation with a cop and I never saw anyone get into a confrontation with a cop,” he said.

The federal agents who knocked on Gauvain’s door told him they were searching his home because his phone pinged by a cell tower at or near the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

“They showed me on a map that my phone was pinged,” he said. “I was within 40 to 60 feet [of the Capitol] but only for a brief time.”

Like many supporters of former president Donald Trump who showed up at the Capitol on Jan. 6, Gauvain said he traveled across the country to exercise his First Amendment rights. He saw militia members wearing their tactical gear, radios, and zip ties but doesn’t support their strategy to breach the building.

“I don’t agree with how they do things,” Gauvain.

When asked how it feels to be caught up in a national investigation of the deadly riot, he shared his disbelief and called it unnecessary.

“I’m just so saddened for my family and for my wife to go through this,” Gauvain said.

Thursday’s raid wasn’t Gauvain’s first arrest.

In February 2016, Gauvain pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery with serious bodily injury. He was sentenced to three years probation, 45 days of physical labor, and restitution.

Despite his guilty plea, Gauavain defends his actions in the April 2015 incident. Gauvain claims he was hanging out with a female coworker at a Laguna Beach pub when a man grabbed her buttocks.

“He threw a punch and missed me. I threw a punch and didn’t miss,” Gauavain. “I was defending the honor of a woman. It’s not like I was out beating other people on the street.”

Even though judges ask defendants if they agree to the terms of a plea deal, Gauavain claims he didn’t know his criminal case settlement barred him from owning firearms. He doesn’t recall if his defense attorney advised him of this 10-year restriction.

In 2017, Gauavain was involved in a domestic disturbance that concluded with Laguna Beach police taking possession of his revolver, he said. The Department released the gun to him about two months later. Gauvain questions why police returned his revolver if he wasn’t allowed to own it.

The firearm confiscated Thursday by Laguna Beach officers was not any weapon Gauvain may or may not have had in 2017, Cota wrote in a text message. Through a spokesperson, Gauvain disputed this statement Friday.

Gauvain is a board member of the Greater Laguna Beach GOP. He’s been on temporary leave from the board as of March 1, said board president Jennifer Welsh Zeiter.

“He wanted to decompress after the election and take a break from the extreme disappointment,” Zeiter said.

Zeiter described Gauvain as a good guy and fellow dedicated Republican. 

Federal agents have raided the homes of two Ladera Ranch men, as well as a third person in Huntington Beach, as part of their investigation into the deadly Jan. 6 riot, ABC 7 reports.

16 COMMENTS

  1. What a crock of 💩! Sounds like a saint and no involvement of the insurrection after flying across the country to be there. 🤔

  2. What an incredible unnecessary injustice for this man! The FBI have nothing better to do than to investigate by insanely random ways citizens who has RIGHTS?

  3. Unless there is proof that he went into the building, this is just a fishing expedition. So they charge him on some weapons charge, after returning a firearm to him 2 yrs after he pled out & lost his 2nd Amendment rights for 10 yrs? The police had to run a instant background check just as if he were purchasing a gun before they could return his gun to him. This stinks & it will be interesting to see how the gov’t intends to make a case it of this circle jerk.

  4. As a former FBI Agent, i know probable cause (PC) is necessary for arrests. Mere attendance at any rally at any place, including the Capital, is insufficient PC for an arrest. In fact, such attendance is Constitutionally protected as a right to speak, gather, and yes protest. It is fundamental to a free country and we should all stand tall and peacefully speak up. Each time. Every time. However, those who violate gun laws, trespass, destroy property, and harm others should always be arrested. That includes lawbreakers in Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, and at our Capitol in WDC. All lawbreakers should be arrested regardless of where they offend, or who they are. Crime is an offense not a right.

  5. Welcome to communism…forget about free speech. Of course all of those who incited BLM and ANTIFA into rioting, burning, looting for months on end were “Peaceful” protestors just exercising their 1st Ammendment Rights…what a joke.

  6. In the OCR, Gauvain’s attorney stated that “He’s dumbfounded….he’s just your average Joe who is conservative.”
    OK, AJ’s working in a bar get into serious fights in their place of employment alleging they were defending a woman’s honor leading to their own arrest—–begging the question why WAS he the one arrested, who was that woman and where is her deposition/testimony/statement to the LBPD? can he or his attorney provide proof of what actually happened, including did Gauvain escalate the situation instead of diffuse it?
    AJ’s then 2 years later have the LBPD at their home for a domestic dispute, sounds like a repeat incident involving the same or maybe different woman? Several closely occurring incidences, violence against female related behavior or coincidence?
    AJ’s then fly all of the way back to DC in January, self-admittedly get tracked to within 40-60 feet of the Capitol steps, i.e., within the rioting mob itself. A violent mob, so he’s trending violent, isn’t he? Plus police can’t possible know to what extent he “participated,” just good technical tracking methodology.
    AJ’s then wait another 2 months post-January 6th to take temporary leave of absence, to “decompress and take a break from the extreme disappointment.” Which, btw, happens to be nearly 4 months AFTER the election.
    Am I the only one trying to keep straight face regarding Gauvain being an “Average Joe?”
    Sounds like a man with middle age male issues, in need of some anger management education who is playing the whining victim. At least on paper, seeing his police blotter history and what happened in DC, what he voluntarily participated in, seems probable cause for at least detention.
    This isn’t fascism, this was national law enforcement trying to intervene, follow through on known information, not speculation. Would his community and neighbors rather have him (obviously on an ascending not descending physical confrontational arc) go postal, go over the edge or at least detained and interviewed?
    Between his quotes, those of his attorney, proximity to 3 violent actions in a little over 5 years, any other AJ’s out there with the same history? Does he sound like an AJ to a REAL Average Joe?

  7. OC Register stated Garrett Andrew Gauvain felt “dumbfounded”….dumb being key description. Idiots are always surprised. Traitors even more so.

  8. I’m the guy he sucker punched in that crowded bar because I didn’t move out of his way as he drunkenly shoved his way through the crowd. This was confirmed by many witnesses and he therefore plead guilty to it. Just as he lied about that night, its not surprising he would lie about not entering the capital. I hope he gets what he deserves.

  9. If you were an FBI agent, wouldn’t you be more than a little suspicions about an individual who (1) far from being a regular Joe, is a Republican Party official, (2) has a history of criminal violence, (3) joined a mob that trespassed on restricted US Capitol grounds without a required permit for the purpose of overturning a lawful democratic election based on a fraudulent pretext, and (4) was present at the site of an armed insurrection against our own Congress and Vice President? That’s certainly suspicious enough to me to justify a search warrant. Obviously a federal judge or magistrate agreed and apparently the FBI found evidence of at least one crime in Gauvain’s home.

    I wonder how many of the outraged people commenting here wrap themselves in the flag of “law an order” when the criminal activity is committed by those with political views they dislike.

  10. I am Garrett’s older brother. We have not spoken in over two years due to family issues. Garrett has had his share of problems in the past but going to Washington DC to protest an obviously rigged election should not be a reason to post his past issues in the local newspaper. His only crime on January 6th was being a conservative according to the FBI. Nothing more or less. But let’s smear him in the local newspaper. Whoever allowed this article to be published is a fascist communist.

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