Two brothers, suspected gang members, arrested on suspicion of gun possession, drugs

Two brothers, both suspected gang members, were arrested Thursday by the Merced County Multi-Agency Gang Task Force.

Agents spotted Omar Garcia, 24, at 5:51 p.m. Thursday riding in the passenger seat of a vehicle. He was wanted on a warrant charging him with making criminal threats, gang authorities said in a news release.

Officials stopped the vehicle in the 9300 block of Bigler Drive in Planada and arrested Garcia without incident. Agents said Garcia was in possession of a “small amount” of cocaine.

Garcia’s brother, Miguel, was the driver. He too was described by police as a known gang member. Miguel Garcia, 25, was wanted in Merced County on a domestic violence warrant, agents said.

Agents found a loaded .380 semi-automatic pistol under the driver’s seat, police said.

Both brothers were booked into the Merced County Jail on the warrants and on suspiciom of possession of a firearm by a gang member and other street gang allegations. Neither man was listed as in custody Friday morning.

The arrests Thursday of suspected gang members came in an area of Planada that was affected late last year by a high level of street gang violence, with two murders occurring just weeks apart.

Eric Perez Guzman, 24, was shot in that same block Nov. 25, 2013, and died a few days later at a regional hospital. A warrant has been issued for Adrian Quezada, 19, of Planada, charging him with Guzman’s murder. He has not been arrested, authorities confirmed Friday.

Two weeks later, on Dec. 9, 2013, one of Guzman’s relatives, 16-year-old Asbiel Copado, was shot and killed in nearly the same spot as Guzman. Authorities said Copado and Guzman were members of the same gang. No arrests have been made in that case.

Frustrated Planada residents responded to the violence by holding a peace rally in February at Houlihan Park.