Police: 3 arrested after traffic stop in Atwater

rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.comMay 18, 2013 

— Three men were arrested in Atwater on Sunday after a traffic stop turned up drugs and an unloaded rifle, police reported.

Officers stopped a gold Ford pickup at about 6:40 p.m. after it made an unsafe pass on Olive Avenue, according to Lt. Sam Joseph.

The driver, Marcos Hernandez, 20, had a suspended license and was wanted on a misdemeanor arrest warrant, Joseph said.

After searching the truck, officers found a converted soda can containing more than 7 grams of marijuana and 0.05 of a gram of methamphetamine.

Police also found an unloaded .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle.

Joseph said Hernandez, who's a known Sureño gang member, admitted the drugs belonged to him but denied owning the gun.

The two passengers — Oscar Arellano, 18, and Luis Gonzalez, 28 — were arrested on suspicion of possession of the weapon and participation in a criminal street gang.

Joseph said officers found evidence linking Arellano and Gonzalez to possession of the gun after checking their cell phones.

The three men were booked at the Merced County Jail.

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