The Office of Precinct 5 Nueces County Constable Dionicio "Don" Ysassi destroyed 70 firearms that had been stored in temporary evidence rooms for years, taking up valuable space amidst the cluttered rooms.

Ysassi said 105 weapons, including shotguns, rifles, handguns and a fully automatic submachine gun, had been stored in the Constables Office evidence rooms for years.

The pair of rooms, which are each no larger than a normal walk-in closet, had stacks of boxes containing the weapons, he added.

"We saw all these guns and said, 'These need to be destroyed,'" Ysassi said.

The evidence rooms are meant to be temporary storage locations for weapons, usually being turned over to the District Attorney's Office or other law enforcement agencies. If they are no longer needed for a case, protocol dictates the weapons must be destroyed, Ysassi said.

It is apparent previous administrations did not follow that procedure, he added.

"For some reason, they let them just sit there," Ysassi said. "The evidence room is only temporary. They shouldn't have been storing stuff in there that long."

During the past six months, the Constable's Office checked with the district attorney and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to ensure the weapons could be destroyed. Of the 105 being stored, 70 were approved for disposal. The other 35, 14 of which were identified as having been stolen, are awaiting the go-ahead from the DA and ATF for destruction, Ysassi said.

Those 70 weapons were chopped up Jan. 27 at a local welding shop.

Anyone who has had their registered weapon stolen and believes it may be among those identified is asked to contact the Precinct 5 Nueces County Constable's Office at (361) 767-5205.