Delhi man arrested after Merced deputies find gun, drugs

01/17/2012 9:50 AM

01/17/2012 11:08 AM

A Delhi man was arrested Sunday after Merced County Sheriff's deputies found a handgun, cocaine and several containers of beer in his truck.

Deputy Tim Goncalves was patrolling the Delhi area when he heard several shots fired near Hinton Avenue and Shell Street. He pulled over a black Chevrolet pickup truck in an orchard after it left the area at high speed. Once parked, the truck's driver and a male passenger took off running. Three passengers remained in the truck.

Inside the cab, Goncalves found an empty .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun in the center console, a small amount of cocaine and several containers of beer. He also found a passport and the truck's registration, belonging to Gilberto Chaves Leon, a Delhi resident. The deputy determined through interviews that the passengers weren't involved in the shooting.

Deputies visited his home on Darlington, where family members confirmed the truck belonged to him and said he had another home on Hinton. Later that morning, Leon contacted the sheriff's office to report his vehicle had been stolen.

Around 10 p.m. Monday, Goncalves contacted Leon and interviewed him about the shooting. Leon admitted to leaving a party where he had been drinking and using cocaine, then driving with some friends and firing a handgun out the vehicle's window. Leon was arrested and booked into Merced County Jail on suspicion of negligent discharge of a firearm. He has already posted the $10,000 bail.

-- Posted by Brandon Bowers

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