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Search yields arms, drugs, plus arrest of Modesto man

A Modesto man who was involved in a face-off between a hostile crowd and a police officer earlier this year was arrested Monday after police discovered a cache of guns in his home.

William Rodriguez, 29, was arrested after police serv- ed a search warrant and found eight firearms, including an assault rifle and a sawed-off shotgun, at his house in the 100 block of Roselawn Avenue. Police also found a half-ounce of methamphetamine, about an ounce of marijuana and more than $2,000 in cash, police spokesman Sgt. Brian Findlen said.

Police said Rodriguez is a documented Norteño gang member.

"One person can't shoot eight guns, so I think a safe assumption is that these eight guns could be in the hands of eight criminal street gang members and cause an immense amount of damage," Findlen said.

In April, Rodriguez was part of a group that police said confronted a lone officer after he stopped to break up a fight on Pelton Avenue in west Modesto. Police said the crowd taunted the officer, threw bottles at him and punched him in the face. The officer pulled his gun to keep the crowd at bay.

Rodriguez and five others were arrested after the incident. Rodriguez was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer, false imprisonment of a police officer and lynching. Lynching is a legal term that means removing someone from police custody.

Rodriguez posted bail after his April arrest. On Monday, he was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance while in possession of a firearm, possession of meth for sale, possession of marijuana for sale, being a gang member in possession of a firearm, committing a felony while out on bail, possession of a prohibited weapon and participation in a criminal street gang.

Rodriguez was booked at Stanislaus County Jail, where he is held in lieu of $250,000 bail.

Another man involved in the Pelton Avenue confrontation also had subsequent run-ins with the law. In May, sheriff's deputies arrested Matthew Reyes, 19, on suspicion of murder and attempted murder. Authorities said Reyes was responsible for the shooting death of 24-year-old Gregory Thornhill Wallace.

Bee staff writer Leslie Albrecht can be reached at lalbrecht@modbee.com or 578-2378.

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