Over the last six weeks, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office has seen an increase of gang members who were in possession of firearms, seizing eight firearms in several incidents over the past six weeks, including one in Sonoma last weekend.
"The seizure of eight firearms possessed by gang members is a recent spike for the Sheriff's Office," said Sgt. Dave Pedersen of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office's Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Team.
"The seizure of the firearms should result in less violent crime among rival gangs and the threat gang violence poses to the general public."
On Sunday, September 16, a Sheriff's deputy made a traffic stop on 8th Street East and Napa Road, in the Sonoma Valley. The car was occupied by three gang members. Two of the gang members were on probation. During a search of the vehicle a semi-automatic handgun was found. The three 19-year-old men were booked for carrying a concealed firearm with gang enhancements.
Other incidents during this month include the Sept. 6 seizure of a loaded .357 magnum handgun and cocaine by members of the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Team when they conducted a probation search of a gang member on Emily Avenue in Rohnert Park. A 29-year-old man was booked for being a felon in possession of firearm, a felon in possession of ammunition, possession of a controlled substance and violation of his felony probation.
On Sept. 8, a deputy responded to McMinn Avenue in Santa Rosa for a trespassing complaint. During his contact with a 20-year old gang member who was trespassing, he found him in possession of a loaded .357 magnum handgun, a loaded sawed-off shotgun, a sap (lead weighted club) and drug paraphernalia.
On Sept. 11, deputies from the Town of Windsor on patrol observed a criminal street gang member with outstanding felony warrants driving on Arata Lane, at Los Amigos Road in Windsor. When they stopped the 29-year-old suspect and arrested him for his warrants, he was found in possession of three shotguns and was booked for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and for his three warrants.
These follow two Santa Rosa incidents in October, when Sheriff's deputies booked a 22-year old convicted felon for possession of ammunition, brass knuckles and violation of probation, though no firearms were found; and a 31-year old woman was found, during a probation search, with methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and a handgun with the serial number removed. She booked on three warrants, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm with the serial number removed.
"The Sheriff’s Office is monitoring these trends," concludes the statement from Sgt. Pederson, "sharing the information with other gang units, agencies, and the public, as a coordinated effort to combat these crimes in our community.
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