Suspects found with guns face multiple charges

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Suspects from out of town wait detained after multiple loaded guns are found in vehicle, said Chief Feeney of the University Police on Halloween Saturday night. Photo credit: John DomogmaTwo men with loaded firearms, including a sawed-off shotgun, were arrested on Halloween after being were searched by California State University police officers in a parking lot across the street from campus.

The arrests, which occurred around 11 p.m. in a university parking lot on Second Street, across from Bell Memorial Union, came after officers saw nine individuals drinking alcoholic beverages beside two cars, said John Feeney, University Police chief.

As the officers approached two of the individuals sidestepped their way into a passing crowd, narrowly dodging law enforcement. More than a dozen officers surrounded the remaining seven, Feeney said.

“One of the officers saw shotguns shells on the floorboard of the car,” He said. “And so they conducted a search and found a loaded shotgun.”

As the officers searched, a loaded, semiautomatic .22 pistol fell out of one man’s pants. The officers also uncovered a “large quantity of marijuana” and a bandolier loaded with shotgun shells, Feeney said.

Officers detained the seven but eventually released five. Those five were noted in the police report.

Officers arrested the other two. They were taken to the University Police Department for questioning and later transported to the Butte County Jail.

One was charged with possession of a concealed weapon, the other with possession of marijuana and a sawed-off shotgun, which is a felony offense.

If convicted, the arrestee could incur a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

The group of nine, which included two 17-year-olds, had driven to Chico from Stockton. They were staying at a local hotel with the intention of partying over the holiday weekend, Feeney said.

The two men who walked away from the scene were later identified, but not apprehended.

When the group was detained, Night of the Living Pancake, a free event hosted by the Government Affairs Office, was being held across from the parking lot at the BMU auditorium.

Several students and community members were in the vicinity of the lot.

Feeney said the CSU Critical Response Unit who aided the University Police over weekend was instrumental in averting a further threat.

“We keep our students, staff and faculty safe,” he said. “I was proud that our people worked together with the Critical Response Unit.”

The arrested tourists will face prosecution in Chico, law enforcement officials in Stockton and San Joaquin County will be notified of their arrests.

Butte Interagency Narcotics Tasks Force has taken on the narcotics investigation.

University Police retained the investigation for the gun-related offenses.

Gabriel Sandoval can be reached at [email protected] or @GLuisSandoval on Twitter.

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