Hollister Police on Monday arrested a 19-year-old man and two teen girls after officers found an illegal rifle in their vehicle, according to authorities.

About 11:50pm Aug. 31, Hollister Police Officer Eduardo Solis was on patrol when he noticed a car traveling on the roadway in violation of the California Vehicle Code, says a press release from Hollister PD. Solis made a traffic stop on the car on the 100 block of Fourth Street and contacted the driver and two female passengers. The driver could not produce identification and there was an odor of burnt marijuana emanating from the car. 

During the investigation, officers found an AR-15 style rifle in the vehicle, within easy reach to all of the occupants of the car, police said. The rifle was loaded and did not have a serial number affixed. Solis also found information in the vehicle indicative of criminal street gang activity. 

The driver, Leonardo Villafuerte, 19, of Royal Oaks, was arrested on suspicion of carrying a loaded weapon, conspiracy to commit a crime and possessing methamphetamine, police said. Villafuerte was booked at the San Benito County Jail. 

Leonardo Villafuerte

The front female passenger—a 17-year-old from Watsonville—was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime and possession of drug paraphernalia, police said. The rear female passenger, also 17, of Hollister, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime. All three suspects were also booked for participating in a criminal street gang. The juveniles were booked at San Benito County Juvenile Hall. 

Anyone with information on this case can call Officer Solis at the Hollister Police Department at (831) 636-4330. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the WeTip Hotline at 800-78-CRIME. Information provided to WeTip may qualify for a reward. 

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