|A substance believed to be heroin allegedly was found during a search of a car in which Cory Francis Merk, 27, of Dixon, Calif., and 19-year-old Gabriel David Vasquez of Broderick, Calif., were found riding in Clearlake, Calif., on Tuesday, July 9, 2013. Photo courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.|
LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – An early morning vehicle stop conducted by a Lake County Sheriff’s Patrol Deputy has resulted in two arrests and the seizure of heroin and marijuana.
Arrested were Cory Francis Merk, 27, of Dixon, and 19-year-old Gabriel David Vasquez of Broderick, according to Lt. Steve Brooks of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.
At 2:30 a.m. Tuesday a deputy was on patrol in the area of Highway 53 and Olympic Drive in Clearlake when he observed a vehicle that was traveling ahead of him cross over the solid double yellow lines, Brooks said. The deputy also ran a records check on the vehicle and learned the registration was expired.
The deputy conducted an enforcement stop on the vehicle near the intersection of Highway 53 and Lakeshore Drive in Clearlake. As the vehicle was pulling over, the deputy observed both the driver and passenger make furtive movements towards the rear passenger area, Brooks said.
The deputy contacted Merk, the driver of the vehicle, and explained the reason for the stop, Brooks said. Merk explained he was tired and that was the reason for his poor driving.
The deputy contacted the passenger of the vehicle, Vasquez, who explained he is the owner of the vehicle and is currently in the process of getting it registered. Both Merk and Vasquez denied having anything illegal in the vehicle, according to Brooks' report.
The deputy had both subjects step out of the vehicle and when they did, he could smell the strong odor of marijuana emitting from the rear passenger area, Brooks said.
Brooks said the deputy conducted a search of the vehicle and located approximately 7 ounces of marijuana under some clothing. The area where the marijuana was located also was the same area he could see Vasquez reaching at the time of the enforcement stop.
The deputy asked what was inside the trunk of the vehicle and Vasquez replied that it was only clothing, Brooks said. While searching the trunk area the deputy located several items of clothing, and hidden in the clothing he located a digital scale and a plastic bag containing a brown chunky substance.
Brooks said the deputy removed the bag and scale from the trunk and asked Vasquez what was inside the bag. Vasquez said he did not know what the substance was and denied that it belonged to him. Merk also denied knowing what the substance was and told the deputy that it did not belong to him.
The deputy tested a small amount of the suspected heroin with a NIK kit. The kit flashed a light green color indicating a presumptive positive for the presence of heroin, Brooks said.
Both Merk and Vasquez were arrested for possession of heroin for sales and transportation of a controlled substance. Brooks said they were both transported to the Lake County Hill Road Correctional Facility and booked.
The Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force can be contacted through its anonymous tip line at 707-263-3663.
|From left, Cory Francis Merk, 27, of Dixon, Calif., and 19-year-old Gabriel David Vasquez of Broderick, Calif., were arrested in Clearlake, Calif., on Tuesday, July 9, 2013, on drug charges. Lake County Jail photos.|