Two Santa Maria men were arrested and accused of gun and theft-related charges Thursday after a Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputy located a stolen catalytic converter and several firearms inside a vehicle following a report of a theft in Santa Ynez, according to a spokeswoman on Monday. 

Deputies responded to a report of a catalytic converter being removed from an RV parked in the 3500 block of Madera Street shortly before 9:30 p.m., according to spokeswoman Raquel Zick. 

The deputies were advised that the suspect's vehicle was a small, dark-colored Honda sedan that had just left the area. A deputy located the Honda one minute later near the intersection of Edison Street and Highway 154, where a traffic stop was conducted. 

The vehicle's driver was identified as 29-year-old Edgar Puga and the passenger was identified as 34-year-old Alejandro Maldonado, who reportedly had a stolen catalytic converter and electric hand saw hidden under his feet, according to Zick. 

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During a subsequent search of the vehicle, police allegedly located an unregistered short-barreled assault rifle with a 30-round magazine, an unregistered polymer 9-millimeter handgun and a Smith and Wesson .38 Special revolver. 

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Additionally, burglary tools were located in the vehicle, and Puga also was found in possession of methamphetamine, according to Zick.

Both men were booked into the Main Jail. 

Puga was booked on suspicion of conspiracy, grand theft, possession of a short-barreled rifle, possession of burglary tools and impersonating another person, which are all felonies; and three misdemeanors — driving without a license, possession of a controlled substance and carrying a concealed firearm. 

In addition, Puga had five misdemeanor warrants for his arrest, and is being held on $250,000 bail, according to Zick. 

Maldonado was booked on suspicion of four felonies — conspiracy, grand theft, possession of burglary tools and impersonating another person. He is being held without bail due to a parole violation, Zick said. 

Lights and Sirens in the Santa Ynez Valley
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