By Miriam Raftery
Photo: courtesy ECM news partner 10 News
February 13, 2019 (Jamul) – A mansion in Rancho Jamul Estates owned by prominent jeweler Leo Hamel was raided today by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Some of his jewelry stores were also searched in connection with a firearms trafficking case, 10 News reports.
In 2016, Hamel ran for the California State Assembly as a Republican, seeking to represent most of East County. Despite announcing that he had dropped out before the primary election, his name remained on the ballot and he advanced to the November run-off, but was defeated by Randy Voepel.
Hamel’s company, Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers & Jewelry Buyers, has been doing business locally since 1979. He has a long history in East County, starting out as a salesman at Walker Scott department store and later selling jewelry at swap meets before opening his first store on El Cajon Blvd. Hamel now operates several stores, including San Diego, La Mesa (corner of La Mesa Blvd. and Grossmont Blvd.), Oceanside, Solana Beach, and Rancho Bernardo, according to the company website.
Authorities have thus far declined to divulge details on the investigation.