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Car stop yields pot, loaded gun
Ceres Cop Car

A 26-year-old Modesto man was arrested during a Sept. 21 car stop made after the driver was seen by an officer speeding, and found with marijuana and a loaded Smith & Wesson .38 special hand gun.

Officer Eric Gallegos was southbound on Central Avenue at 11:56 p.m. when he saw a dark blue Mercedes traveling northbound on Central Avenue at a high rate of speed. The car pulled over in front of the CVS store on Hatch Road and upon contacting driver Juan Umana, 26, of Modesto and passenger Johnny Nevarez, 25, of Modesto, smelled a strong odor of marijuana. Sitting on the laps of both was marijuana and neither had medical marijuana cards.

Officer Dirk Nieuwenhuis arrived to assist in a vehicle search. Officer Gallegos explained that he was going to do a pat-down search of Umana. The driver resisted and pulled away and spun around to face the office and was placed in handcuffs.

Officers continued with the vehicle search and found a stainless steel revolver with wooden grips in the map pocket of the driver side door. The firearm was loaded with five live rounds of ammunition and the hammer of the gun had been shaved. Ceres Police Department spokesman Lt. Chris Perry said some people shave the hammer down to prevent the hammer from catching on clothing when drawn out of a pocket.

Additional marijuana buds attached to stems were located on the driver and front passenger seats.

Umana told police that the gun was his and that he carried it around to shoot at coyotes while working in the fields. Umana had Sureno gang tattoos and admitted that he is an active member. Umana also admitted owning the marijuana.

Nevarez also admitted to being an active Sureno gang member. He was released with no charges.

Umana was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail for possession of a loaded concealed handgun and possession of marijuana.