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Missing headlight leads to two arrests for explosive device

DELHI -- When two sheriff's deputies stopped a car for a missing headlight, one of the things they allegedly discovered was a carbon dioxide canister made into an explosive device which could have caused serious damage.

Deputy Tom MacKenzie, sheriff's department spokesman, said deputies Jason Cope and Brandon Thomas stopped the vehicle occupied by Andrew Thomas Ramsey, 18, and Angelou Xavier Garza, 19, both of Modesto, at El Capitan Way and Sixth Street in Delhi.

Along with a pair of brass knuckles, a loaded .22-caliber rifle, a pepper spray canister and 15 grams of marijuana, Cope and Thomas found a converted carbon dioxide canister filled with gunpowder from fireworks, with a fuse inserted into the top, MacKenzie said.

The Merced Police Department Bomb Squad responded and said the device could blow a person's hand off.

The explosive was destroyed by the bomb squad. The canister is similar to the type used in hand-held pellet guns but this one had an extra punch.

MacKenzie said deputies first detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle during the 11:30 p.m. stop Saturday.

Ramsey and Garza were booked into Merced County Jail on charges of possession of an explosive device, carrying a loaded weapon, possession of marijuana, and possession of brass knuckles and remained there Monday night.

Garza was being held in lieu of $510,100 bail, and Ramsey's bail was $520,353, according to a correctional official.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at 209 385-2485 or dyawger@mercedsun-star.com.

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