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.