Early Saturday morning Dec 26, four men were arrested in Angels Camp, Ca. by Angels Camp Police. An officer initiated traffic stop occurred due to malfunctioning brake lights and a car was pulled over just after midnight on Friday. The same four men were again stopped for mechanical violations on Saturday afternoon just before 4:00 p.m.
Angels Camp Police Chief Todd Fordahl.issued a statement today regarding the issue. At the initial stop just after midnight on Saturday, the four men in the vehicle were arrested, cited and released for possession of drugs i.e. meth, and for carrying loaded weapons in a vehicle. The four men are: Manuel Salvador Naranjo, the 49 year-old driver with a Mexican identification card; 41 year-old Juan Sanchez Morales; 46 year-old Eberardo Juan Munos Romero; and 25 year-old Jesus Emmanuel Arredondo Escalera. All four men are Stockton residents.
At the traffic stop the arresting officer noticed a gun openly displayed in the car and ‘detained’ all four of the vehicle occupants to make a vehicle search possible. During the search, three more loaded weapons were found, with the weapons having been modified by cutting down the stocks and/or the sights being removed. The explanation which was offered to the officer was that the men were “looking for deer”.
Later the same day, just before 4:00 p.m. an Angels Camp Police officer initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle for mechanical violations and a missing front license plate. It was a different vehicle, but the same four men. In the afternoon traffic stop, the men were still in possession of drugs plus a knife. The driver was again cited and released with the knife being returned to him.
The reason given by the men for returning to the area was to “to retrieve a cell phone that was up here”. Chief Fordahl was quoted as saying: “It is not normal to run into people such as these four people, back to back on consecutive days, with two different vehicles,”
Due to the recent passage of Prop 47, all of the crimes involved are classed as misdemeanors and do not allow for extended jail terms, but instead require only a citation and release pending future court dates. Local law enforcement have noted “off the record” the increased flow of both Illegal Alien, and other criminal elements from the Valley area who are beginning to visit the Mother Lode area with little fear of any real consequence for their criminal activity.
Chief Fordahl was also quoted as saying:
“Some of the other things that weren’t mentioned in the press release that were concerning is that there were ski masks and gloves that were recovered as well…I don’t know what their intention was. I don’t believe based on what was found, the time of day and the type of weapons that they had, their overall circumstances, I do not believe their story that they were up here, ‘looking for deer’.”
The increase in this type of activity may account for the increase in Concealed Carry Permits being noticed both in the foothills and around the State. Citizens are perhaps properly concerned that Law Enforcement Officers are less able to be everywhere at once, and less able to provide the level of security in our civil society.