Afternoon Newsletter

May 2, 2013

Atwater police find drugs, stolen guns during traffic stop

ATWATER -- What started as a routine traffic stop Wednesday resulted in the arrest of two suspected gang members and the confiscation of weapons and drugs.

Officer Matthew Haywood of the Atwater Police Department made the stop that led to the arrest of 23-year-old Luis Tinta and a 17-year-old, whose name isn’t being released since he’s a juvenile, said Lt. Sam Joseph.

Haywood stopped the suspects' Honda Accord near the corner of Mitchell and Marguerite streets for an equipment violation and expired tags, Joseph said. Officer Matthew Vierra assisted on the stop.

The officers recognized Tinta and the juvenile as suspected gang members and determined one of them was on probation, Joseph said. While searching the vehicle, officers found two stolen handguns, a small amount of money and a small amount of methamphetamine packaged for sale, Joseph said.

Tinta was booked into the county jail and the teenager was booked into Merced County Juvenile Hall. Both the suspects are from Winton.

Joseph said the arrests were important because it got drugs and firearms found in the vehicle off the streets.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or

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