Just a few hours before a large 6.0 earthquake rocked the early morning hours Sunday in Napa and nearby Sonoma Counties, it was business as usual for law enforcement. A Deputy from the Sonoma Sheriff’s department was on patrol at Larson Park in north Sonoma. The park, located near Boyes Hot Springs and Fetters Hot Springs-Agua Caliente, has been the scene of multiple gang related disturbances and arrests over the past few weeks. According to the Sheriff’s Office, there has been a shooting, narcotics arrests, and gang vandalism recently. It is also adjacent to Flowery Elementary Shool.
At 7 pm Saturday, the deputy, patrolling as part of an increased presence in the area, noticed a car at the far end of the parking lot of the park, with a man leaning in through the window, apparently speaking with someone inside. He approached with his patrol car, getting just close enough to see the expired registration on the vehicle.
The deputy parked his cruiser and approached the car, seeing there was another man in the driver’s seat. He spoke to both men. The one on the outside said he had come to the park for a rest, and saw his friend there in the car and started chatting with him. However, as he was speaking, the driver of the car seemed to be trying to hide something in his hand, and both men acted suspiciously. The deputy decided to ask for their identifications, and as the outside man produced his, he clumsily tried to hide a “tiny white bundle” in his fingers. The deputy checked his ID; he was identified as Pedro Gonzalez Pulido, 41 of Sonoma. He showed signs of being under the influence of a narcotic stimulant.
Turning his attention to the driver, the deputy checked his ID, and noticed a bag typical of methamphetamine packaging, along with cash next to the driver’s seat. He was identified as Humberto Gutierrez Lopez, 41 of nearby Boyes Hot Springs. As Lopez exited the car, another tiny white baggie dropped out, filled with a “gritty” subsstance.
With enough probable cause to indicate a narcotics transaction had taken place, the deputy detained both men and initiated a search of the car. He found additional baggies of drugs, a digital scale, and two active cell phones. There was also a loaded 9mm pistol hidden under the driver’s seat. Pulido was tested for being under the influence of a controlled substance, and was arrested for loitering in a public place and beig under the influence. Lopez was arrested for possession of a controlled substance for sale, and while armed, and carrying a loaded firearm.
Both were booked at the Sonoma County Jail. Lopez’s three felonies resulted in bail set at $35,000. He was scheduled to be arraigned today. Pulido’s crimes are listed misdemeanors – he posted $5,000 bail and is due in court Monday, September 15.