During a traffic stop earlier this week, Atwater police seized suspected illegal mushrooms, marijuana, a firearm and dozens of spray-paint cans possibly linked to series of vandalism investigations.
Three people – Omar Pimentel, Kendell Kelly and John Jensen – were arrested just before 2 a.m. Monday in the parking lot of a pharmacy in the 1900 block of Winton Way, the Atwater Police Department reported.
Lt. Samuel Joseph said investigators believe Pimentel may be linked to an Atwater graffiti crew that is suspected of more than 100 vandalism incidents over at least the past year.
Officer Saraleann Brooklyn stopped a vehicle driven by Pimentel on a taillight infraction and reported smelling marijuana coming from the vehicle.
During a subsequent search of the vehicle, police found 51.4 grams of the suspected illegal mushrooms, a gram of marijuana, and a .45-caliber handgun in the car’s glove box and ammunition, police said.
Officers also found 51 spray-paint cans and 36 spray can tips inside the car, Joseph said.
All three were booked into the Merced County Jail.
Atwater police formed a small, special unit last year in response to an escalating graffiti problem. Officers Jason DaSilva and Jose Torres have “made a significant impact on graffiti crimes,” Joseph said.