Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County's Gang Task Force arrests 4 in Watsonville

WATSONVILLE, Calif. - Four people were arrested Friday night after members of the Santa Cruz County Anti-Crime Team's Gang Task Force spotted a speeding car.

Gang Task Force officers were patrolling the South County and Watsonville areas around 10:30 p.m. when a unit spotted a car speeding on Holly Drive. As they tried to stop the car on Airport Boulevard, one of the people inside the car threw something out the window.

The driver of the car then pulled over, and its occupants were contacted.

Roberto Meza, 23, and Pablo Ruiz, 19, were found to be on active parole, while Adan Valerio, 23, and Daniel Sanchez, 22, were on active probation. The probation terms for Valerio and Sanchez prohibit them from being in contact with any known gang members, according to Gang Task Force commander Mario Sulay.

Watsonville police helped search the area where officers believed the car's occupants tossed an object out of the window and found a loaded handgun.

Meza was arrested on suspicion of violating parole, unlawfully possessing a firearm, and gang participation. Ruiz was arrested on suspicion of the same charges.  Valerio and Sanchez also were arrested on the firearm and gang participation charges as well as for violating probation. All four were booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail.

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