Was Aaron Hernandez running guns?

Was Aaron Hernandez running guns?

(MyFoxBoston.com) -- Just months after the 2013 season ended for the New England Patriots, tight end Aaron Hernandez appeared to be living large. He was in a new, 7,100 square-foot home in North Attleboro with his fiancee and 1-year-old daughter.   

More than 1,000 miles away, in Belle Grade, Fla., one of his associates, 23-year-old Oscar Hernandez, not related to Aaron, was also making moves.

Fast-forward two months to June, 2013, and the murder of Odin Lloyd. Aaron Hernandez has been charged with murder in that case. During a police search of his home, which his own surveillance system captured, police reported finding an old Toyota Camry in the garage, with a Hungarian FEG rifle stashed inside.

Noted criminal defense attorney Joe Keegan, a former police officer, said the rifle packs a serious punch.

"The Hungarian model is really just a knock-off of the AK-47," Keegan said. "One round is going to do some significant damage. If your firing bursts, if it's a full-auto... If you get hit with a couple of rounds, it's likely death."

While state and local police were building a case against the former Patriot for the Lloyd murder, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced the car and the gun. Their investigation took them to south Florida, and Oscar Hernandez.

In April 2014, a federal grand jury investigating interstate gun trafficking slapped Oscar Hernandez with a 5-count indictment.

FOX 25's Ted Daniel reviewed the indictment with private investigator and former police detective Tiom Shamshak.

"Everything arose because of the murder of Mr. Lloyd," he said.

The indictment alleges Oscar Hernandez purchased the Camry near his home in Florida, stashed as many as three guns - including the Hungarian rifle - inside, and then paid to have the car shipped directly to Aaron Hernandez's home.

Putting contraband in a car and paying someone else to ship it is one of the oldest tricks in the book. As long as the drugs or guns are hidden, there needs to be a good reason for someone to take a look.

When Oscar Hernandez was questioned before the federal grand jury about the shipment, he claimed to have no knowledge, even though his name is allegedly all over the paperwork.

"What they have done here is focused on Oscar Hernandez and they have charged him with obstruction of justice and lying to the federal grand jury," Shamshak said. "They're squeezing him, and in essence they are going to force his hand."

If Oscar Hernandez is just a small fish, attorney Keegan suspects there are likely big ones. Keegan said "it wouldn't make sense" for the government to go through the steps they have in the gun running investigation if it was just three guns.

"This isn't the type of person for two small caliber handguns and one 7.62, knock off of the AK-47 that they would be going after this type of person," Keegan said.

Fox 25 has learned that several of Aaron Hernandez's friends and associates have been called to secretly testify in the gun running case, including Mike Pouncey of the Miami Dolphins. Pouncey is a former University of Florida teammate and good friend of Aaron Hernandez's.

Search warrants also indicate that police searched Hernandez locker at Gillette Stadium for guns, or records of gun sales right after he was cut from the team.

It's been more than a year since the federal interstate gun trafficking investigation began, and with only silence from authorities, one can only speculate if the man who made millions running with a football could have also been involved in running guns.

Daniel reached out to the attorneys who represent Aaron Hernandez and Oscar Hernandez. Aaron Hernandez's lawyer declined to comment, and Oscar Hernandez's attorney did not respond.

As for the .45 caliber pistol used to murder Odin Lloyd: That still has not been found.