Crime

Merced police bust three gang bangers

Two validated gang members and a teenage passenger were arrested after the vehicle they were riding in was found to contain loaded weapons, Merced police said.

Officer Leon Pintabona attempted to stop a vehicle Friday at 14th and Canal streets for a mechanical violation. The car didn't stop right away and headed east on 14th Street and turned into a parking lot at a Shell gas station.

Pintabona approached the car and noticed a strong smell of marijuana. He found that the backseat passenger, a 17-year-old, had an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

Pintabona also found that the front passenger, Kirk Ford, 19, was on probation. Another officer patted Ford down and found a small semi-automatic pistol in his show and a .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun that was loaded and had the serial number removed.

Officers also found a loaded Glock .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol reported stolen by Santa Clara police.

Ford and Marcus Reid, 27, are validated members of Merced Gangster Crips, police said.

Reid and Ford were booked in Merced County Jail on suspicion of possession of a loaded concealed firearm and Reid was also booked on suspicion of possession of a stolen firearm. The teen, who police aren't identifying because of his age, was booked on the outstanding warrant.

All three were booked for being engaged in a criminal street gang.

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