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February 8, 2023

Car stop uncovers loaded gun

WATSONVILLE — A routine car stop led to an important break and a recovery of a loaded gun for Watsonville Police Friday.

Sgt. Juan Trujillo of the Watsonville Police Investigations Unit said officer Aaron Chavarria pulled over a maroon Mercedes Benz E320 just after 10 a.m. on Beck Street near Granny’s Laundromat and Miyuki Restaurant. As Chavarria spoke to the male driver he spotted an open beer container and then a handgun lying on the floorboard.

That’s when Chavarria called for police backup and they eventually pulled the driver from the car at gunpoint.

Police recovered a Glock semi-automatic handgun and a full magazine clip. Trujillo said the man was prohibited from carrying a firearm. Police also found illegal drugs in the car. 

Sgt. Mike Ridgway said the man, who has not been identified, was driving without a license, which had been suspended years ago. Ridgway said the man had been driving erratically and was dangerously tailgating another motorist, which drew the attention of police.

After conducting a field sobriety test, the driver was taken to Santa Cruz County Jail.

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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