Feds raid local jeweler’s mansion, store for gun trafficking case

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SAN DIEGO -- Agents from both ATF and the FBI raided a sprawling East County estate Wednesday as part of a firearm trafficking investigation.

The mansion's address matches a home registered to San Diego jeweler Leo Hamel. Hamel's flagship store in Old Town was also surrounded by agents Wednesday morning, but officials did not confirm whether the jeweler is directly involved in the investigation.

An FBI spokesperson confirmed that agents were serving "multiple federal search warrants" for evidence on the gun trafficking case, but did not release details about the home or potential suspects.

SkyFOX captured video of the raid at the home on Priscilla Drive in Jamul late Wednesday morning.

In Old Town, nearby business owners were shocked by the scene. Matt James, who leases the space for his electric bike shop from Hamel, was told by investigators to stay inside his store.

“(They) completely blocked off all the way around the building and down the street. It was pretty crazy,” James told FOX 5. “Definitely a lot more excitement than we’re used to."

Hamel is the face of Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers, often appearing in commercials for the well-known family-owned company. Unsuspecting customers showed up at his shop to have repairs done and make purchases, only to be turned away by federal agents.

“I rang the bell and nobody answered, and you know the sign says they’re open I don’t know why they’re not answering the door, " one woman said. “He comes out and greets you himself every time I’m there. They’re really helpful so I'm a little stunned,” another customer told FOX 5.

"I’m not sure what to think of it. I only know him to be a great businessman and a guy with a lot of integrity," James said. "I would be shocked if he knowingly did anything wrong."

FOX 5 has reached out to Hamel for comment and has not heard back.

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