A Yolo County jury has convicted three men identified as Norteno gang members for having an assault pistol in their car and engaging in street gang activity.
Angel Palacios, Carlos Hernandez and German Martinez, all age 20 of Woodland, were each found guilty by the jury Thursday, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.
Witnesses testified that on Aug. 17, 2010, two groups of gang members were in the area of Harris Park near Midtown Elementary School in Woodland. Just as school security personnel arrived, a rival gang member challenged Hernandez, who appeared to have an object in his hand. Police were called, and the two groups left before officers arrived.
Authorities said an officer stopped the car occupied by the defendants and a 14-year-old boy. In the car was an illegal AA Arms Luger AP9 assault weapon with a clip containing 23 rounds of 9mm ammunition, according to the news release. Palacios told authorities that he had purchased the gun and had taken it in the car that day. He reportedly handed the gun to the 14-year-old passenger before the vehicle was pulled over because he thought the juvenile would get in less trouble than the adults in the car.
A Woodland police officer testified that the weapon was designed with both high capacity and cooling features to allow it to fire as many as 35 bullets within a few seconds.
Jurors found the three men guilty of transporting and possessing an illegal firearm. They also found Hernandez guilty of being a felon in possession of a gun while on probation. Authorities said Hernandez has a prior conviction for battery causing great bodily injury, and all three men were on probation at the time of the crime.
They are to be sentenced May 18 by Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephen L. Mock.