STAR team busts gang member in Winton for sawed-off shotgun

The Merced Sheriff's Office said its STAR team on Wednesday arrested a validated gang member in Winton for possessing a sawed-off shotgun.

Just after 5 p.m. the Merced Sheriff’s STAR Team stopped to talk to Isiah Ramirez, 22, a suspected gang member, in the 6000 block of Hall Ave in Winton. After finding out he was a validated gang member and speaking with him and his girlfriend, officers developed information that there was a weapon at his residence, according to Deputy Tom MacKenzie.

Detective Dustin Witt said they found a sawed-off 12 gague shotgun in his bedroom closet, along with ammunition. Living in the house with him was his girlfriend and her 10-year-old son who had access to the weapon, MacKenzie said. After further investigation, they were able to determine that Ramirez had already been deported once.

Ramirez made statements that he kept the weapon for protection against rival gang members. Ramirez was booked on possession of a sawed-off shotgun, possession of a concealable weapon, participation in a criminal street gang and child endangerment. He remains without bail on an I.C.E., or immigration, hold.