Man arrested on weapons allegations after Merced County deputy makes vehicle stop

A 23-year-old man was arrested Wednesday after a Merced County STAR Team deputy allegedly found two illegal firearms and drugs in his car.

Merced County Sheriff’s Deputy Damien Sparks initially stopped a gray BMW vehicle for failing to stop at a stop sign and tinted front windows near East Childs Avenue and Tower Road in Merced, according to a news release.

CP FirearmsArrestMu_fitted.jpeg
Courtesy Merced County Sheriff's Office

The man, identified as Israel Flores Jr., was detained after it was also discovered the vehicle’s registration expired in 2016, although it had a 2020 registration sticker.

When Sparks looked into the vehicle, he saw what looked like the barrel of a rifle under clothing in the back seat, the release states.

Further investigation revealed Flores was in possession of a sawed-off double-barrel shotgun, a loaded short-barreled AR-15 rifle and a loaded 30-round magazine on the floorboard behind the passenger seat. The serial numbers on the firearms were missing.

Sparks also allegedly found a small amount of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in Flores’ wallet.

CP FirearmsArrest1.jpg
Courtesy Merced County Sheriff's Office

Flores was arrested and booked into Merced County jail on suspicion of unlawful display of registration, possessing drug paraphernalia, possessing a controlled substance, tampering with firearm IDs, possessing a large capacity magazine, possessing a short-barreled shotgun and possessing an assault weapon, according to the release.

Flores is being held at John Latorraca Correctional Center in lieu of $177,417 bail, according to Merced County jail records.

CP FirearmsArrest2.jpg
Courtesy Merced County Sheriff's Office