NAPA, CA — Three gang members were arrested Thursday night in Napa when detectives with the Napa Police Department’s Special Enforcement Unit — SEU— saw a group of known criminal street gang members congregating in the 400 block of Soscol Avenue, a police sergeant said.
“The SEU detectives focus on gangs, and they recognized several men,” Napa police Sgt. Peter Piersig said.
It was around 8:15 p.m., and patrol officers responded to assist due to the number of people gathered on Soscol Avenue.
Genaro Aguilar-Covarrubias, who is on supervised own-recognizance release, was sitting in his car with another known gang member. In a search of Aguilar’s car, detectives found a loaded, un-serialized and unregistered, privately manufactured pistol — commonly called a “ghost gun” — as well as suspected cocaine, the sergeant said.
“Aguilar-Covarrubias told detectives the gun and cocaine were his and the other man was not arrested,” Piersig said.
Aguilar, 21, was arrested on suspicion of possession of an unregistered loaded firearm in public, addict in possession of a firearm, addict in possession of ammunition, possession of an un-serialized privately manufactured firearm, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance while armed, criminal street gang conspiracy, criminal street gang participation, violation of Supervised O.R., and a criminal street gang enhancement.
Another known gang member, 20-year-old Jaime Torres Mendoza, was contacted on Soscol Avenue and was arrested on suspicion of violating gang-related terms of his probation, according to police.
Detectives also contacted 19-year-old Angel Danny Delacruz, who is on supervised own recognizance release with terms to submit to search and seizure and to not associate with gang members.
“A week prior, Mr. DelaCruz pled no contest to possessing an unregistered loaded firearm in public, a gang enhancement, and a strike,” Piersig said.
Detectives and officers did a probation search of Delacruz’s residence in the 1300 block of Pueblo Avenue and found a ghost gun with a threaded barrel along with ammunition, gang indicia, and indicia for Delacruz, Piersig said.
“While legal in a lot of states, pistols with threaded barrels are illegal in California unless the pistol is registered as an assault weapon,” Piersig said.
Delacruz was arrested on suspicion of possession of an unregistered and un-serialized privately manufactured firearm, possession of an assault weapon, felon in possession of a handgun, felon in possession of ammunition, and a criminal street gang enhancement.
All three remained in custody Friday, according to Napa County jail records. Bail for Delacruz was set at $150,000; Mendoza was being held without bail, and Aguilar’s bail was set at $50,000.
Piersig noted that SEU detectives investigated a shooting in March 2021 in the same area of Soscol Avenue that was believed to be gang-related. Numerous shell casings were collected and were later connected to other crimes and local gun recoveries, the sergeant said.
“Since March, SEU detectives have investigated over a dozen gang-related shootings,” Piersig said. “Delacruz’s recent case was from when he was contacted by Napa Police just after a shooting was reported in the 1500 block of Pueblo Avenue. On that night Delacruz was found with another illegal pistol.”
Police asked anyone with information related to gang shootings to contact SEU Detective Cadena via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 707-257-9834.