REDWOOD CITY -- A San Mateo man suspected of running an illegal gun sales operation out of his home faces nearly a dozen felony charges, including selling a firearm to a minor, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Police allegedly caught Antonio Infante, 35, with an SKS assault rifle, high-capacity magazines, three pistols and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Officers moved in on him after arresting one of his customers, said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Infante didn't enter a plea Tuesday in San Mateo County Superior Court and was being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.

Agents from the county's narcotics task force arrested Infante during a raid Friday at his home on the 1300 block of Speers Avenue. They found the weapons as well as the cell phone that he allegedly used to set up the sale that led police to him.

San Mateo officers had been watching the house on Speers because of complaints about possible drug dealing there. A break came when officers pulled over a car carrying Victor Avelar, 20, of East Palo Alto moments after he drove away from Infante's house, Wagstaffe said.

Police say they found a Ruger handgun in the vehicle and Avelar had messages on his cell phone discussing the price of the gun with its alleged seller, Infante. The phone also contained a photo of the weapon, said Wagstaffe.


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Avelar pleaded not guilty Monday to carrying a concealed gun and was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail. Though Avelar is 20, prosecutors have charged Infante with selling to a minor because handgun buyers must be 21 in California, said Wagstaffe.

Police said none of the weapons at Infante's house appear to be stolen or tied to other crimes. But the guns will be sent to the crime lab for further testing and identification efforts, police said. One of the guns had its serial number shaved off.

Infante is due back in court Thursday for a hearing on reducing his bail. In addition to being charged with possessing an assault rifle and two high-capacity magazines, he's also accused of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. Infante has a 1996 felony marijuana sales conviction, said Wagstaffe.

Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at Twitter.com/melvinreport.