Three men have been charged with a slew of felony firearm violations after a recent Berkeley car stop that began in response to expired registration tags, authorities report.
On Jan. 14 just after 10:20 p.m., police were patrolling near San Pablo Avenue and Cedar Street in northwest Berkeley “when they spotted a vehicle with expired registration,” BPD said this week in a prepared statement.
Police stopped the vehicle and learned that one of its occupants had a warrant for his arrest.
“When officers had the occupants step out of the vehicle, they were surprised to see a big bag of marijuana (about 1 pound worth) sitting on the back seat,” BPD said. Police searched the vehicle and located nearly five pounds of marijuana, more than two grams of oxycodone, more than $2,100 in cash and three loaded handguns, according to BPD.
Police identified the men as Marc Pespitro and Benjamin Block, who are both 28 years old and from Alameda, and 27-year-old Connor Mulholland of San Leandro. They were arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs for sale, carrying loaded, concealed firearms and several other offenses, BPD said.
According to Alameda County Superior Court records, all three men have now been charged with multiple gun-related felonies.
Pespitro was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of ammunition by a prohibited person, and carrying a concealed and loaded firearm, with an allegation that the gun was unregistered. He remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $85,000.
Pespitro has a felony conviction from 2018 for unlawful firearm activity, according to court records online. He is scheduled for a bail hearing Jan. 29.
Block was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of ammunition by a prohibited person, and carrying a concealed and loaded firearm that was unregistered. Block has a 2013 felony conviction for marijuana possession for sale, according to court records online.
Mullholland was charged with carrying a loaded and concealed firearm that was unregistered. He has no prior convictions, according to court records.
Block and Mullholland are scheduled for arraignment in March and are no longer in custody, according to court records online.