An El Cerrito man is facing a raft of new criminal charges and allegations after a Berkeley police officer on patrol found him in possession of a “large quantity” of contraband including a loaded gun and 68 grams of methamphetamine, according to police and court records.
The investigation began Friday just before 11 p.m. when an officer who was driving on Gilman Street in northwest Berkeley noticed a black 2002 Chevrolet Suburban “abruptly make a fast turn” from westbound Gilman onto southbound Second Street, BPD said in response to a Berkeleyside inquiry.
The officer followed the SUV, which ultimately stopped on Page Street with its headlights on: “Because there have been numerous stolen vehicles found in this particular area, the officer suspected that this may [be] a stolen vehicle as well and stopped to investigate,” BPD said.
The officer approached the SUV, which was empty, and noticed that it had current tags on the license plate although its registration was expired. The officer also saw marijuana in the center console, BPD said.
As he looked around, a woman walked up to the officer and said she had been driving the SUV, BPD said. The officer determined that the woman did not have a valid license.
The officer then searched the vehicle and, inside, “found a methamphetamine pipe along with ammunition, a digital scale, a quantity of methamphetamine, and over $1000 cash,” BPD said.
The officer took the woman into custody. Soon afterward, BPD said, a man approached and said he had been in the SUV as well.
That man, later identified as 33-year-old Anthony Kerman of El Cerrito, told the officer he had left the SUV because he had “left drugs on the ground behind a nearby RV. When the officer walked behind the nearby RV, the officer found three bags of methamphetamine.”
Nearby, through an open tent door, the officer spotted a loaded handgun, which BPD ultimately determined to belong to Kerman, authorities said.
This week, the Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Kerman with five felony charges, and a long list of enhancements, related to the loaded gun, ammunition and methamphetamine, according to court records.
(The woman who said she had been driving the SUV is not in custody and has not yet been charged so Berkeleyside is not publishing her name.)
According to court records, Kerman has at least eight felony convictions dating back to 2008. That year, he was convicted of carrying a concealed firearm. His other felony convictions, for gun- and drug-related charges, came in 2015.
Kerman remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $140,000. He is scheduled for a plea hearing Feb. 18.