Four people were arrested outside Merced County Superior Court after being ordered by a judge not to drive -- but allegedly did so moments later.
The arrests Friday were part of a sting operation conducted by Merced police targeting people without a valid driver's license because of a previous arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to Sgt. Jay Struble.
Police conducted the undercover court sting operation from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., watching defendants who'd been told by a judge not to drive. The officers followed the defendants from courtrooms to the parking area to ensure they weren't driving on a suspended or revoked license.
Struble said eight people were followed outside by the officers. While four abided by the judge's order and had alternate means of transportation, the other four drove away from the courthouse.
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Police arrested and cited those who ignored the judge's order. Those arrested were Kevin Smith, 31, of Merced, Ricardo Spence, 57, of Merced, Jose Saenz, 48, of Planada, and Jesus Ruiz, 58, of Merced.
The four people who were cited all had a minute order from court stating they couldn't drive unless properly licensed. Their vehicles were also impounded for thirty days.
Funding for the sting operation was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Struble said.
-- Sun-Star Staff