Two arrested in Merced on gang, weapons charges; kids in CPS custody

Two people were arrested on gang and firearms charges over the weekend in Merced, police reported Monday.

Pedro Garcia, 36, and Marissa Ann Gonzales, 35, were arrested Saturday after the Merced Police Department’s Gang Violence Suppression Unit served a search warrant at their home in the 2800 block of La Palma Avenue, according to a news release.

Both Garcia and Gonzales are believed to be gang members, Capt. Tom Trindad said in a telephone interview.

Investigators think gang members were hiding weapons in the home, Sgt. Joseph Weiss said in the release. Officers seized five handguns, a shotgun, a rifle, body armor, as well as “several hundred rounds of various ammunition,” he said.

“The weapons were found in an unsecured area accessible to the three children who reside at the residence,” Weiss said.

A 1-year-old boy and two girls, ages 16 and 9, were turned over to Child Protective Services, Weiss said.

Garcia was booked at the Merced County Jail on suspicion of criminal street gang participation; being a felon in possession of firearms, ammunition and body armor; child endangerment; and possession of stolen property. He was still in custody Monday on more than $220,000 bail.

Gonzales was booked on suspicion of gang, weapons and child endangerment charges, police said. She posted bail and was released from the Merced County Jail on Sunday.

Court dates were not available Monday.

According to Merced Superior Court records, Garcia pleaded guilty in 1997 to shooting at an inhabited dwelling and an unoccupied vehicle.

Police said they are looking for information regarding Garcia and Gonzales’ activities in the neighborhood. “We’re hoping that someone, a witness, may have seen suspicious activity and they’ll come forward and let us know what they saw,” Trindad said.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Sgt. Joseph Weiss at (209) 385-4754, or the Merced Police Department Tipster Line at (209) 385-4725. Tips can be sent via anonymous text message to the Police Department by dialing TIP411 (847411) and including the word “Comvip” as the keyword in the message.