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Gustine teens arrested on Thanksgiving for illegal gun, drugs and stolen car, police say

Two Gustine teens were arrested early Thanksgiving morning for allegedly stealing a vehicle, being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, possessing controlled substances and having an illegal firearm, police said.

Gustine Police Officer Gurshuran Kang was patrolling the 1200 block of Grove Avenue at about 2:30 a.m. when he noticed a car swerving and drifting on and off the roadway, according to a Wednesday news release. As he got closer to the vehicle, he noticed its left front tire was blown out and traveling on its rim.

Kang tried to stop the vehicle, the release states. But the driver, later identified as 18-year-old Gustine resident Ricardo Moran, failed to stop and drove away at a high speed.

Kang pursued the vehicle, which was reported stolen out of Oakland, according to the release. Moran yielded in the area of Sullivan Road and Grove Avenue and was taken into custody with the help of Newman Police officers, according to the release.

Also in the vehicle was a 14-year-old Gustine resident, who along with Moran, had difficulty maintaining balance as they exited the vehicle. That led Kang to believe they were both possibly under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

A search of the vehicle yielded a backpack with 62 pills of generic Xanax, about 12 grams of cannabis and a flat head screwdriver that investigators believe was used to start the stolen vehicle, the release states.

Kang also found an unloaded semi-automatic Glock pistol under the front passenger seat that had a missing serial number.

Moran was booked into Merced County jail, while the juvenile suspect was booked into Merced County Juvenile Hall.

Moran’s bail was set at $23,104.

Vikaas Shanker is an award-winning reporter covering education, crime and courts for the Merced Sun-Star and Los Banos Enterprise. After growing up in Naperville, Illinois and graduating from the University of Kansas, he reported in several Chicago suburbs before moving to Merced County in 2016.