3 days, 3 arrests, 3 guns recovered in Moreno Valley

MORENO VALLEY, Calif. — Authorities say three arrests over three days by deputies in Moreno Valley led to the discovery and seizure of three weapons and arrest of three subjects.

All of the arrests were made by Moreno Valley Sheriff’s Station Special Enforcement Team/Gang Unit members and one of those arrested was a 17-yesr-old juvenile, while two others were convicted felons and one was a documented criminal street gang member, say officials.


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On Wednesday afternoon, July 14, at around 3:15 p.m., deputies and others assigned to the Moreno Valley Sheriff’s Station Special Enforcement Team/Gang Unit were conducting proactive patrol in the area of Dorner Drive and Ramsdell Drive when they conducted a traffic enforcement stop on a vehicle, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Christopher Varela later reported.

“During this traffic stop the passenger, Jonathan Pitchford, 36, was found to be in possession of a loaded unregistered firearm,” Varela explained. “Pitchford, a convicted felon, was taken into custody and booked into Robert Presley Detention Center for various weapons charges.”

Jonathan Pitchford, 36, of Moreno Valley, was arrested after a traffic stop uncovered a loaded and unregistered handgun in his vehicle. RSO photo

Two days later, on Friday, July 16, at 8:28 p.m., SET/Gang Unit officials were conducting proactive patrol in the 12000 block of Carnation Lane.

“This area is frequented by documented criminal street gang members,” said Varela.

“As the deputies pulled on the street, they saw several known and documented criminal street gang members walk away from where several vehicles were parked,” Varela described.

Deputies were able to detain, Laprez Gray, 27, who was standing next to a black Mercedes.

Laprez Gray, 27, of Moreno Valley, was arrested after deputies found he was in possession of a loaded and unregistered handgun. RSO photo

“During this investigation a loaded unregistered firearm was located inside the Mercedes and Gray was taken into custody. Gray was subsequently booked into Robert Presley Detention Center for weapons violations,” said Varela.


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About an hour later, at 9:32 p.m., SET/Gang Unit officials conducted a traffic stop in the 13000 block of McDonnell Street.

“The driver, a 17-year-old resident of Moreno Valley, was found to be in possession of an unregistered concealed firearm,” Varela continued. “He was taken into custody and subsequently released to his parents.”

His name and photo were not released due to his age.

“The Moreno Valley Sheriff’s Station Special Enforcement Team/Gang Unit is committed to creating safe and secure neighborhoods free of violent crime and gang activity,” Varela explained. “If you have any information related to gang or illegal weapon related activity in your neighborhood, you can contact Sgt. Varela at the Moreno Valley Station at (951)486-6700.”

Also, anyone with information about any of these incidents and arrests is encouraged to contact the Moreno Valley Sheriff Station at (951) 486-6700. Callers can remain anonymous.

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 50, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.