On May 30, 2018 at about 2:21 am, Deputy Chris Chilton with the Merced County Sheriff’s Office received a call to the San Joaquin Drug Store in Planada regarding a burglar alarm going off. Deputy Chilton arrived a short time later and saw a silver BMW on Sutter Ave driving slowly near the drugstore.
Two subjects were seen running on Sutter Ave near the vehicle and were picked up shortly after spotting Deputy Chilton’s patrol vehicle. Deputy Chilton attempted to stop the vehicle near the Valero gas station and the BMW failed to stop and a vehicle pursuit was initiated.
Deputies pursued the vehicle from Planada to Merced onto Highway 140 with speeds reaching 90 MPH. Deputies followed the vehicle onto north bound Hwy 99 and continued the pursuit until the California Highway Patrol (CHP) took it over in Livingston at Hammett Ave.
Deputies dropped out of the pursuit and returned to San Joaquin Drug Store to continue the investigation. Deputies learned the business had been burglarized and several opiate pharmaceuticals were taken. Deputies located a garbage can full of medication in the alleyway of Bigler and Sutter Ave. Deputies recovered more pharmaceutical medication in the field behind the store on Bigler Ave which made up most of what was stolen according to the owner of the store. A large yellow crowbar and one of the suspect’s phones was found inside the business.
Sacramento CHP later advised they were able to get the BMW stopped at Hwy 99 and Mingo Road in Sacramento. CHP used spike strips on a few different occasions to disable the vehicle and arrested four (4) occupants. The subjects arrested were a female driver indentified as 23-year-old Christina Gamez from Mendota, 21-year-old Andrion Navarrete Mendoza from Fresno, and 19-year-old Miguel Valencia from Fresno.
The fourth subject was a 17-year-old Hispanic male juvenile from Fresno. All subjects have been arrested and booked into the Merced county jail and juvenile correctional center.