Berkeley traffic stops net guns, drugs; 3 arrested

Berkeley police have confiscated more than 80 guns this year.

Police seized an AR-15-style rifle, methamphetamine, more than 100 rounds of rifle ammunition and other items during a traffic stop on San Pablo Avenue last week. Credit: BPD

Officers seized two firearms, a large cache of ammunition and narcotics during traffic stops in West Berkeley last week, authorities report.

Berkeley police have confiscated more than 80 guns during arrests and investigations this year, according to recent department data.

On Thursday just before 11 p.m., police stopped a driver on San Pablo Avenue near 67th Street in connection with an unsafe turn and expired registration, BPD said.

During the stop, officers saw drug paraphernalia on the passenger seat of the 2010 Nissan Pathfinder. The driver, identified as 33-year-old Garret Johnson of Napa, told police that he had an AR-15 rifle in the trunk, according to BPD.

Garret Johnson. Credit: BPD

Officers searched the vehicle and located an AR-15-style rifle, methamphetamine, more than 100 rounds of rifle ammunition, handgun ammunition, a handgun magazine and a glass pipe used to smoke methamphetamine, BPD said.

Police said the rifle was not registered to Johnson, who is banned from owning guns due to his criminal history.

Police arrested Johnson on suspicion of possession of an assault weapon, transporting an assault weapon and being a felon in possession of a firearm as well as several ammunition and narcotics violations, BPD said.

Johnson was booked into Santa Rita Jail in Dublin but was no longer in custody as of this week. Charges have not been filed in the case; the district attorney’s office generally takes weeks or months to make charging decisions when an individual is no longer in custody.

The day before Johnson’s arrest, police stopped a driver on Curtis Street and Hearst Avenue in northwest Berkeley at 12:50 a.m. on suspicion of driving above the speed limit, according to BPD. Police said the vehicle, a 2014 Nissan Altima, also had no license plates.

Steve Guy. Credit: BPD

When police spoke to the driver, BPD said, he gave them an out-of-state ID card belonging to someone else. BPD arrested the driver, who was ultimately identified as 37-year-old Steve Guy, and determined that he had an out-of-state warrant related to “escaping community custody.”

“Officers conducted an inventory search of the vehicle prior to towing it for having expired registration in excess of six months,” BPD said in a prepared statement. “During a search of the vehicle, officers located a loaded firearm, ammunition, narcotics, controlled substances and drug paraphernalia.”

Courtney Myer. Credit: BPD

BPD said Guy’s passenger, 39-year-old Courtney Myer, gave police a driver’s license “that was also determined to be false.” When police identified her, they found a warrant related to firearms charges and arrested her on suspicion of carrying a concealed firearm, carrying an unregistered, loaded firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of controlled substances while armed with a loaded firearm, in addition to other violations.

Myer was taken to Santa Rita Jail. On Thursday, the Alameda County district attorney’s office charged her with carrying a concealed firearm within a vehicle and possession of a controlled substance with a firearm, both of which are felonies, according to court records online.

Police seized a loaded gun, drug paraphernalia and other items during a traffic stop at Hearst Avenue and Curtis Street last week. Credit: BPD

Myer is scheduled for a pretrial hearing at Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland on Nov. 9, according to jail records online. She remained in custody Monday with a bail of $75,500.

Police arrested Guy on suspicion of similar violations: being a felon in possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed firearm, carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm, possession of controlled substances while armed with a loaded firearm and false identification, BPD said. As of Monday, he remained in custody in connection with the fugitive warrant.

Guy’s next court date was not listed as of publication time and he did not appear eligible for release on bail due to the warrant. Charges do not appear to have been filed.

Emilie Raguso is Berkeleyside’s senior editor of news. Email: emilie@berkeleyside.org. Twitter: emraguso. Phone: 510-459-8325.