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Three Santa Maria gang members arrested in Lompoc on gun, drug charges

Three Santa Maria gang members arrested in Lompoc on gun, drug charges

Three Santa Maria gang members were arrested in Lompoc early Friday morning on suspicion of multiple drug and gun offenses, according to the Lompoc Police Department. 

Arturo Tovar Alvarez, 23; Kevin Nunez Escamilla, 19; and 18-year-old Joel Angel Jesus Rivera were taken into custody following a traffic stop at 4:18 a.m. in the 700 block of West Walnut Ave.

Officers reported stopping the vehicle carrying the three men after it was deemed suspicious. Alvarez, the driver, and Escamilla and Rivera were all found to be on active Santa Barbara County probation.

After searching the vehicle, officers reported finding a concealed loaded .40 caliber handgun with a destroyed serial number and an illegal large-capacity loaded magazine. Further, Alvarez and Escamilla were found to be in possession of methamphetamine totaling more than 13 grams, according to police.

The Santa Maria Police Department confirmed that all three men were documented gang members in Santa Maria, Lompoc police said.

Alvarez and Escamilla both face charges including participation in a criminal street gang, carrying a loaded firearm in public, violation of prohibition on firearms access, being a felon in possession of ammunition, possession of a large-capacity magazine, altering or removing the serial on a handgun, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of methamphetamine while possessing a loaded operable handgun.

Rivera faces the same charges, excluding those related to the methamphetamine.

All three were booked at the Lompoc Jail. Their probation was revoked, so they were unable to post bail.

Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.


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