Federal investigative records show that U.S. Customs Service agents learned in 2002 that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department used the City of Gardena to funnel hundreds of bullet-proof vests to Cambodian police. At the time, Undersheriff Paul Tanaka was a Gardena councilman; today, he serves as the city’s mayor. Federal authorities released the records to The Times under the Freedom of Information Act after making numerous redactions.
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