Crime

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.

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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.

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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.

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Courtesy Merced County Sheriff's Office
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