Crime

Police arrest California man, Nevada gang members at Merced convenience stores

Explaining California’s new assault weapon ban

New California laws will broaden the definition of prohibited assault weapons, cracking down on a quick-reloading device referred to as the "bullet button."
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New California laws will broaden the definition of prohibited assault weapons, cracking down on a quick-reloading device referred to as the "bullet button."

Four people were arrested at two convenience stores in Merced County Thursday night, according to the Merced Police Department.

The first arrest was at 7:24 p.m. in the AM/PM parking lot on East Childs Avenue, according to a news release.

Officers with the Merced Police Department’s Gang Violence Suppression Unit located 26-year-old Jaime Avalos, who was sitting in a vehicle in the parking lot, the release states.

While searching the vehicle, they found an AK-47 assault rifle with high-capacity magazines. Avalos was arrested and booked into a Merced County jail on suspicion of assault weapon charges, according to the release.

Hours later at about 10:15 p.m., GVSU officers arrested 26-year-old Henderson, Nevada, resident Bryant Brown and Las Vegas residents Dartanun Young, 25, and Devonte Richey, 23, at the 7Eleven on Loughborough Drive, a separate news release states.

Officers made contact with the three gang members and conducted a probation search of the vehicle, according to the release. Officers found a handgun and ammunition in the car.

The gang members were arrested and booked into a Merced County jail on suspicion of weapons charges with gang enhancements.

Anyone with information on the incidents is asked to contact GVSU Sgt. Brian Rodriguez at 209-385-4710, or at GVSU@cityofmerced.org. Witnesses also can call the tipster line at 209-385-4725.

Anonymous text messages can be sent to the police department by texting to the number “847411,” or “TIP411,” and using the word “Comvip” as the message’s keyword.

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Vikaas Shanker is an award-winning reporter covering education, crime and courts for the Merced Sun-Star and Los Banos Enterprise. After growing up in Naperville, Illinois and graduating from the University of Kansas, he reported in several Chicago suburbs before moving to Merced County in 2016.
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