Santa Rosa police arrested three gang members early Monday suspected of armed robbery during a marijuana deal, said a police sergeant.
The three are suspected of setting up a deal at a west Santa Rosa park and instead of buying the marijuana, they held up two people at gunpoint and took the marijuana, Santa Rosa police Sgt. Josh Ludtke said.
Police were called at 11:30 a.m. to A Place to Play park on West Third Street. Two people at the park initially told officers they’d been the victims of a carjacking by men they’d been hanging out with, smoking marijuana. Further investigation determined the two had met the suspects at the park for a marijuana deal and had been robbed at gunpoint, Ludtke said.
An officer looking for the suspects’ vehicle spotted it near Highway 12 and Highway 101, leading to a southbound pursuit on Highway 101. Near Rohnert Park, police officers stopped the vehicle by hitting the side of it with a patrol car, causing it to spin and stop. Officers from Santa Rosa and other agencies ordered the occupants out at gunpoint. They found a handgun and marijuana in the vehicle, Ludtke said.
Officers arrested Joseph Manuel Madrano, 28, Gary Gaspar, 26, and Alex Padilla-Diaz, 20, all of Santa Rosa. Gang detectives were called to investigate. The trio, known to be criminal street gang members, were arrested on suspicion of robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, illegally having the gun, evading police and conspiracy to commit a robbery, Ludtke said. They also were held for violating probation regulations.
The sergeant asked anyone with information about the case to call detectives at 707‑543‑3590. Callers can remain anonymous.
You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707‑521-5412 or firstname.lastname@example.org.