Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested two suspects on October 21, who were reportedly found in possession of a stolen catalytic converter and illegal firearms, after responding to a report in Santa Ynez of a possible theft of a catalytic converter from an RV.
Deputies conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle matching the description of the one the suspects were in, identifying the driver as Edgar Puga, 29, and the passenger as Alejandro Maldonado, 34, both of Santa Maria. During the stop, deputies reportedly discovered what appeared to be a stolen catalytic converter with an electric hand saw under Maldonado’s feet.
During a search of the vehicle, deputies also discovered an unregistered short-barreled assault rifle with a 30-round magazine, an unregistered polymer 9mm handgun, and a Smith & Wesson .38 Special. Burglary tools were also located in the vehicle, and Puga was found in possession of methamphetamine.
Both suspects were arrested and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail. Puga was booked for driving without a license, possession of a controlled substance, carrying a concealed firearm, conspiracy, grand theft, possession of a short-barreled rifle, possession of burglary tools, and possession of an assault rifle. Maldonado was booked for conspiracy, grand theft, possession of burglary tools, and impersonating another person.
Puga also had five misdemeanor warrants for his arrest and is being held with an enhanced bail of $250,000. Maldonado is on active parole and is being held without bail for a violation of his parole.