Three gang members arrested, including 2 for possessing firearms, in Atwater, police say

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Merced Police Department/Merced Police Department

Police say they have arrested three gang members in Atwater on Friday, including two for possessing firearms.

Members of the Merced Police Department’s gang violence suppression unit were assisting the Merced County Sheriff’s Office S.T.A.R. team in Atwater during the 4 p.m. arrests, according to a social media post by the Merced Police Department.

The officers and deputies located a group of gang members hanging out near the corner of Olive Avenue and Willow Avenue.

As the officers approached, one of the subjects fled on foot. Officers were able to catch the man, who was identified as 19-year-old Guillermo Madrigal of Atwater. Police said Madrigal threw a loaded 9 mm handgun while trying to flee. Madrigal also was found in possession of several baggies containing methamphetamine, according to police.

Joseph Ochoa, 20, of Merced was part of the group arrested. Police say he was found to be in possession of a loaded .45-caliber handgun.

Police also arrested Alberto Grijalva, 26, for a violation of his parole conditions.

All three men were booked into Merced County Jail.

Madrigal was booked on suspicion of firearms violations, narcotics violations, resisting arrest and gang enhancements. Ochoa faces charges of firearms violations and gang enhancements.

Merced police are asking anyone with information to contact Officer Justin Saldivar at 209-388-7735 or