Man Set for Trial for Felony Drug Possession and Allegedly Pointing Homemade Firearm at Officer

By Leila Katibah

MODESTO, CA – Abraham Melendez Martinez is being charged here in Stanislaus County Superior Court with felony possession of a zip gun, or cheap makeshift gun, as well as possessing a usable amount of methamphetamine and ketamine while in possession of a loaded and operable firearm.

Deputy District Attorney Henry H. Kim submitted a physical evidence examination report this week from the Department of Justice, showing the accused possessed 0.0663 net grams of meth.

The arresting officer on the scene, Officer Dalton Gonzalez, testified about the alleged crimes and was questioned by Deputy Public Defender Kelli Mendez, noting that upon arriving at the scene, he saw the accused parked in his car, “in the middle of the roadway blocking both lanes.”

Officer Gonzalez recalled driving toward the vehicle in his cruiser while flashing the red and blue emergency lights. He was able to speak with Martinez, but because the accused spoke Spanish, he requested the assistance of two additional Spanish-speaking deputies, Pedro Ramirez and Alex Tovar.

As the deputies assisted in translation, Officer Gonzalez stated “they gave him systematic orders to get out of the vehicle,” elaborating that the accused told the officers “something to the effect of people owed him money and they were murderers.”

The accused pointed the zip gun toward the officer as he approached, and upon opening the car door on the driver’s side, where the accused sat, Officer Gonzalez noticed “approximately five red shotgun shells that did not appear to be spent or empty in the door handle of the driver’s door.”

“I noticed he had a large knife on his left hip in a sheath,” said Officer Gonzalez, recalling that when he originally walked out to the traffic stop, the accused “was holding a metal pipe pointed in my direction.”

Officer Gonzalez originally thought the pipe was some makeshift baton, but once he saw the shotgun shells, “based on prior experience, I believe that the pipe he originally held was a zip gun,” with the cylindrical pipe resembling the barrel of a common firearm.

When asked if the accused appeared to be under the influence of drugs, Officer Gonzalez replied he believed “he was under the influence of a stimulant narcotic,” referencing a 40-hour course he took on the effects of different substances during training.

The officer asked the accused if he had used anything that day, stating “he said he used crystal about an hour before I spoke to him,” noting that “crystal” is a common street name for methamphetamine.

Officer Gonzalez arrested him for being publicly intoxicated, and found “small plastic baggies with a white crystalline substance” inside a case for prescription glasses.

Officer Gonzalez also found the metal pipes in the car, and the accused “explained to me that it was a homemade firearm,” and it worked after placing “the shotgun shell inside, which needed something to strike the primer of that cartridge.”

After testing the firearm with another officer, they found “the black discharger was burned from that primer, indicating that it was a functioning firearm that he did in fact make.”

Judge Dawna Reeves found Abraham Melendez Martinez likely guilty of both charges, and he will be held to answer to the charges at a pretrial Oct. 19.

About The Author

Leila Katibah is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is double majoring in Sociology and Middle East Studies with a minor in Professional Writing. After graduating, Leila plans to attend law school to pursue a career in Public International Law.

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