One Suspect Gave False Information To Officers
SANTA CRUZ—Members of a Gang Task Force arrested three individuals after a traffic stop for running a red light proved to be extra fruitful, as the three young men were carrying two loaded guns in the vehicle.
Agents with the Santa Cruz Anti-Crime Team Gang Task Force were patrolling in the area of Soquel Avenue and Fredrick Street when they noticed a vehicle fail to stop at a stoplight. The Driver, Elmer Leiva, initially gave officers false information, but he was found to be driving on a suspended license.
The agents had the vehicle towed to preform an inventory-controlled search of the vehicle. During that search they found two loaded handguns. One, a .25 caliber semi-automatic was found between the front seats. The other gun was a .38 caliber revolver, stowed in the rear cargo area of the Nissan SUV that they were driving.
Officer arrested 23-year-old Elmer Leiva for giving them false information and carrying a loaded gun in a vehicle. Both passengers, 35-year-old Ishmael Rivera and 24-year-old Jose Avelar, were arrested and charged with possession of a loaded gun in a vehicle.
Agents conducted a records check on both handguns and they could not find any record involving the .25 caliber handgun. The .38 caliber revolver was found to be stolen out of Salinas.
Agents recommended to the District Attorney that each of the suspects be charged additionally with possession of the stolen handgun. Agents are still investigating possible gang involvement as they noticed that one suspect had several tattoos indicative of a gang.