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Police stop van with armed gang member
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A Manteca Police gang suppression unit stopped a van filled with gang members shortly after midnight Saturday and arrested a 20-year-old Manteca man with a semi-automatic hand gun in his possession that had one round in the chamber.

The gang suppression unit was put into operation recently in response to the numerous shootings that have been plaguing Manteca neighborhoods.

Gonzalvo Riboberto Villaneuva, 20, was charged with two felonies for possession of a loaded firearm and being associated with a criminal street gang plus one misdemeanor charge for having a loaded firearm in a public place. He was transported to San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp.

Villaneuva was in the Dodge Caravan that was stopped by police for vehicle code violations in the 1300 block of Mitchell Lane.

Officer Shawn Cavin said that he and his partner Bob Anderson made the traffic stop  and were alerted to movement in the rear of  the vehicle when they approached from their patrol units.

They waited for backup from other police units and then ordered the six occupants out of the van one at a time.  Officer Armando Garcia reportedly discovered the semi-automatic hand gun in Villanueva’s bloused pants. It was held there by a rubber band.

Cavin said the only one in the van that was not a known Norteno street crime gang member was the driver Cynthia Claros, 27, of Manteca, a friend of one of the male occupants in the vehicle.  She was given a citation for having an open container of alcohol in the van.

Officers have found in past experiences it is often customary for gangsters to put the youngest in the right front passenger seat to serve out his initiation in joining their gang.  They feared the gang members might have been on a mission following the double shooting and murder last week on Yosemite Avenue near Powers Avenue.

Police said the only window that would roll down in the van was the right front passenger window.  Villanueva was seated in the rear of the van where officers said all the movement was taking place.

Villaneuva is scheduled to appear in the Manteca Branch of the San Joaquin County Jail on Aug. 3 at 1:30 p.m.  His bail has been set at $113,000.