A traffic stop near downtown St. Helena early Thursday resulted in two arrests on various weapon and drug charges.
While on patrol just before 1 a.m., an officer spotted an SUV with no rear license plate heading south on Oak Avenue, said Sgt. Steve Peterson of the St. Helena Police Department. In place of a plate, there was a sign saying the plate had been stolen.
After stopping the car near Oak/Adams, an officer noticed a soft rifle case in the back of the vehicle. Inside was a short-barreled semi-automatic rifle with a pistol grip and its serial number filed off, Peterson said.
Police also found heroin, Xanax, medical cannabis containing methadone, and a bulletproof carrier vest, Peterson said.
There were three men in the car, and all were convicted felons with suspended driver’s licenses, Peterson said.
The driver, Alexander Gerstel, 26, of Oakland, and Anthony Joseph Nunez, 29, of Modesto, were both arrested on multiple weapon and drug charges, including possession of an assault weapon, possession of a concealed weapon in a vehicle, possession of drugs while armed, and being felons in possession of a gun, Peterson said. Both were transported to the Napa County jail for booking.
Peterson said charges will also be sought against the third man in the car, who experienced a medical episode due to a preexisting condition and was hospitalized before he could be questioned.
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