If you witness a crime, here’s what to do
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.
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.
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.