Crime

Atwater man damaged 2 cops cars during vehicle chase. Then police found this in his underwear.

Huriel Cervantes, of Atwater, Merced County, was arrested Friday, March 15, 2019, after he led police on a pursuit in a stolen vehicle, damaging patrol cars, before police later found drugs in his underwear, according to California Highway Patrol.
Huriel Cervantes, of Atwater, Merced County, was arrested Friday, March 15, 2019, after he led police on a pursuit in a stolen vehicle, damaging patrol cars, before police later found drugs in his underwear, according to California Highway Patrol. Courtesy Merced County Sheriff's Office

A 27-year-old Atwater man led police on a chase in a stolen vehicle, damaged two patrol vehicles and was arrested before police found him hiding heroin and crystal methamphetamine in his underwear, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Officers noticed Huriel Villanueva Cervantes driving a black Honda Civic without a seat belt at 11:37 p.m. Thursday in the area of Vine Avenue and Myrtle Avenue, Officer Eric Zuniga said.

When the officers ran the license plate, it was flagged as stolen out of Atwater, so they attempted to stop him.

But Cervantes fled, Zuniga said, leading officers on a pursuit through Winton, down Santa Fe Drive to the Beachwood area on the outskirts of Merced. The chase ranged between speeds of 10 mph to more than 90 mph.

The vehicle went off road, then Cervantes backed up into a patrol car and continued on Highway 140, reaching 100 mph to Applegate Road, Zuniga said. Cervantes then rammed another patrol car head-on before officers pulled him out of the vehicle at gunpoint and arrested him.

Officers at the scene searched Cervantes and found no drugs. But when he was transported to jail, a body scan found items hidden in Cervantes’ “crotch area,” Zuniga said.

Officers found a glass smoking pipe with white residue, Zuniga said. They also found a black sock tied with a string to Cervantes’ underwear. Inside the bag was baggies of suspected tar heroin and crystal meth.

Cervantes was booked into Merced County jail and held without bond on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a stolen vehicle, violation of probation and misdemeanor possession of drugs and being unlicensed, according to jail records.

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