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4 Santa Rosa men arrested in Mendocino County; 1 suspect at large

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Four Santa Rosa men were arrested in Mendocino County early Thursday morning after deputies discovered they had two guns, one of which was stolen, authorities said.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office received a call at 1:05 a.m. Thursday that someone was shooting a firearm on the 5000 block of El Roble Road, which runs alongside northbound Highway 101 in Ukiah, the department said in a news release. When deputies arrived, they saw a 2017 Toyota Tacoma pickup without any lights on parked in the area. Soon after, the vehicle turned on its lights and drove onto Highway 101. A deputy followed it onto the freeway.

The deputy followed the truck north before it exited the highway and eventually stopped at a locked gate on Rivino Ranch Road, where five suspects exited the truck, the news release said.

The deputy parked behind the stopped car and saw a male suspect run away with what appeared to be an assault rifle. The suspect jumped over a gate and ran east into a vineyard property.

Another deputy arrived and helped detain the four suspects who had stayed with the truck: Frank Geovany Oviedo, 36; Sergio Mendez-Zurita, 26; Carlos Anan-Corona, 30; and Kevin Joshua Pimienta- Martinez, 21. While they were being detained, one of the suspects threw a loaded large-capacity rifle magazine behind a tree in an attempt to hide it, deputies said.

When deputies searched the pickup, they discovered a semi-automatic rifle and a loaded stolen revolver. The truck smelled of marijuana and deputies found marijuana remnants inside. Deputies also located a backpack inside the truck that contained large bags, clippers and various types of ammunition.

In one of the suspects’ pockets, deputies found paperwork with names of strains of marijuana and prices, which is typically related to marijuana sales, according to the release.

Deputies also found a key for a Chevrolet vehicle in Mendez-Zurita’s pocket. When they searched the area of El Roble Road looking for evidence, they found a 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe rental vehicle that the key belonged to. The four suspects said they had rented the vehicle.

After searching the Chevy, deputies discovered bud marijuana, gloves and paperwork connecting the suspects and the vehicles, the statement said. The car also smelled of marijuana and there were marijuana leaves and shake on the floor.

Officials discovered Mendez-Zurita had a felony arrest warrant issued in Mendocino County for a prior case involving a burglary and possession of an assault weapon, with a bail of $75,000. He was arrested, along with the other three suspects, on charges of conspiracy, carrying a loaded firearm and possession of stolen property.

Oviedo was also charged with being a felon in possession of firearms, as deputies later discovered that he was on formal probation in Sonoma County.

All four suspects were booked into and later released from the Mendocino County Jail.

Because a fifth suspect evaded custody, the investigation is still ongoing, said Lt. Shannon Barney.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office tip line at 707-234-2100.

You can reach Staff Writer Chantelle Lee at 707-521-5337 or chantelle.lee@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @ChantelleHLee.

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