After an investigation that lasted about one year, authorities from San Benito County and neighboring agencies arrested an alleged gang member on June 1 who was in possession of more than 20 illegal firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, according to the sheriff’s office.
Officers with the San Benito County Sheriff’s Special Intelligence Unit and Investigations Bureau began an investigation last year into suspect Julio Perez Parra, 21, of Los Banos. Sheriff Eric Taylor said the effort began as a local investigation related to the illegal possession of firearms that led to the out-of-town suspect.
Investigators ultimately obtained a search warrant for Parra and his residence, located on the 700 block of Covington Court in Los Banos, according to a sheriff’s office spokesperson. Local authorities requested the assistance of the Merced County Sheriff’s SWAT unit and the Los Banos Police Department in conducting the search, which took place about 6am June 1.
Authorities safely secured the residence without incident, allowing officers to complete the search of the home. The search resulted in the seizure of 22 firearms, including a fully automatic rifle, seven assault rifles and two ghost guns that did not display serial numbers, according to authorities.
Also found during the police search were multiple high-capacity magazines, about 200 rounds of ammunition, body armor and evidence of Parra’s membership in a gang, police said.
The search also resulted in the arrest of Ramiro Luna, 48, who was allegedly in possession of two firearms that he was prohibited by court order from possessing, according to the sheriff’s office.
Parra was transported to Merced County Jail for booking on suspicion of felony charges of possession of a machine gun, possession of a short barreled rifle or shotgun, possession of a firearm without identification marks and possession of an assault weapon. Authorities are seeking felony charges from the Merced County District Attorney’s Office for Luna, on suspicion of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, the sheriff’s office said.
“Our office would like to express our gratitude to the Merced County Sheriff’s Office and the Los Banos Police Department for their tremendous assistance in this investigation, which resulted in a significant seizure of illegal firearms from our communities,” says the San Benito County Sheriff’s statement about the investigation.