Seven known gang members have been arrested in Livingston since Saturday, according to police.
Three of those arrests came Tuesday when Livingston police and Merced County probation officers searched a home in the 1500 block of Seventh Street, finding a loaded 12-gauge shotgun hidden in a wall with other weapons, and more than five grams of methamphetamine, police Chief Ruben Chavez said.
The methamphetamine was found in the rectum of Leonel Maldonado Jimenez, 34, after a body cavity search, according to police.
Jimenez was arrested along with Raymond Phillip Miller, 28, and a 16-year-old male. All three were booked on suspicion of criminal street gang participation, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and probation violations. Jimenez faces additional drug possession charges, police said.
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Chavez said the search was part of the department effort, led by Sgt. John Ramirez, to ensure convicted gang members follow their probation conditions.
“Our officers are doing everything possible to stay on top of the gangs in our community,” Chavez said.
Four other known gang members were arrested over the weekend after a traffic stop on Bardolino Street. Chavez said police were investigating reports of gang members threatening residents in the area when officers spotted a cream-colored Toyota sedan driven by known gang member Anthony Hernandez, 21, police said.
Hernandez was eventually arrested, along with Carlos Cortez, 18. Two juveniles, ages 16 and 17, ran from the vehicle but were captured later, Chavez said.
Hernandez, Cortez and the juveniles were arrested on suspicion of street gang participation, making criminal threats, conspiracy, obstructing police and probation violations, police said.