DPS confirms weapons stockpile seized at government agency

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Roughly 50 handguns and 80,000 rounds of ammunition that were stored in the Arizona Department of Economic Security’s basement were confiscated. (Source: DPS) Roughly 50 handguns and 80,000 rounds of ammunition that were stored in the Arizona Department of Economic Security’s basement were confiscated. (Source: DPS)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

State authorities confirmed they seized a massive stockpile of weapons from a state agency that is supposed to help Arizona's neediest. 

The Department of Public Safety released a report Thursday showing 45 handguns and more than 84,000 rounds of ammunition were found inside the Department of Economic Security's headquarters in Phoenix. 

DPS took the weapons last week shortly after Gov. Doug Ducey fired the embattled agency director, Tim Jeffries. 

The weapons and ammo were stored in three different locations throughout the building and are now in DPS custody. 

SLIDESHOW: Some of the seized weapons

Photographs released by authorities show boxes of ammunition as well as handguns manufactured by Glock and Beretta. 

The agency is in charge of handling social service programs like food stamp and cash assistance for the poor. 

A spokeswoman for the agency said DES had 44 law enforcement officials with plans to hire more in the future. 

The governor installed his chief operating officer, Harry Darwin, as the interim director of DES. 

Darwin was unavailable for comment, Thursday, but one state lawmaker said the fact that DES was stockpiling weapons is very disturbing. 

"What are you actually defending yourself against except the demons in your own head when you've got that level of a police force," said Sen. Steve Farley, a Democrat from Tucson. 

A spokesman for the governor's office did say a handful of agencies and departments other than DPS have sworn officers for security. 

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

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