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Bicycle traffic stop leads to drug arrest in Hollister

Zapata is shown.

Authorities arrested a Hollister man riding a bicycle after pulling him over and finding drug paraphernalia, according to a statement from the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office, with assistance from the Hollister Police Department, arrested the 31-year-old man Dec. 24 after making the routine stop and finding drugs and paraphernalia, according to the statement released Wednesday.

Police arrested Michael T. Zapata shortly after 10:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve and initially observed the bicycle eastbound on Meridian Street on the south sidewalk. A sheriff’s deputy noticed the bike didn’t have a functioning rear light as required by state law.

The deputy made a u-turn while observing the bicycle make a right turn onto Highway 25. The deputy activated his overhead lights to initiate a traffic stop. The sheriff’s statement alleged that the suspect began holding his front waistband with his right hand, while the deputy requested help and received it from a Hollister officer. When they stopped Zapata, they also realized he was on parole.

According to the sheriff’s statement:

“After further investigation the Deputy searched Zapata locating a large solid unknown object in his front sweatshirt pocket near his front waist band. The Deputy removed the object, locating a white sock with an unknown object(s) inside of the sock. The Deputy also located a black wallet in his left rear pant pocket with a large amount of cash.

The Deputy then removed the unknown objects from inside of the white sock, locating a clear glass smoking pipe with white residue in the barrel of the pipe along with burn marks on the bottom of the bowl. The Deputy then removed a black rectangle object from inside of the sock. The Deputy removed the top of the black rectangle object observing a portable scale inside. The Deputy then removed an orange pill container with a white top and no prescription label on the pill container containing a crystal substance inside.”

Zapata was arrested on accusations including possession of a controlled substance for sale, parole violation, and possession of drug paraphernalia.