Hatchet, guns in car lead to weapons charges for four

A carload of young men were stopped on the morning of November 2, when a Tulare Police officer smelled the odor of burning marijuana, but when the smoke cleared, there was more awry in the car than just the drugs.

When Officer Derogee approached the vehicle to talk to the occupants, he asked each if there was anything he should be aware of as he talked to them and found that the four young Earlimart men had a lot to tell him.

Passenger Robert Rivera, 18, of 1898 Avenue 56, was sitting in the back seat, where there was a hatchet under the floorboard. A juvenile passenger told the officer he had a gun in his pocket—a loaded .380 semiautomatic pistol, according to Tulare Police Capt. Jerry Breckinridge.

The juvenile passenger in the front seat told Officer Derogee that there was a shotgun under the front floor mat, according to Capt. Breckinridge. The officer found the shotgun, which was sawed off and loaded.

The man in the driver’s seat, 20-year-old Manuel Nunez of 778 Wilson Estates, was arrested and charged with possession of a dangerous weapon and carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle.

The other three were charged with possession of dangerous weapons. The drug charges were left to be decided by the District Attorney’s office. The adults were booked into jail and the minors went to the juvenile detention center.

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