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Police: Santa Cruz man walks out of encampment with drugs, gun, $11,000 in cash

Santa Cruz Police Department

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION-TV) Santa Cruz Police said they arrested a man in a San Lorenzo Riverbank encampment on Tuesday morning with heroin, meth, a loaded firearm and, over $11,000 in cash.

On Dec. 21, Santa Cruz Police Department said they conducted an enforcement effort west of San Lorenzo Riverbank, next to Santa Cruz Memorial Cemetery.

"The initial goal was to prompt people to move out of the area closed to the public due to flooding," Santa Cruz Police said.

The riverbank flooded in the last rain storm, inundating the Benchlands homeless encampment and the people's belonging. Another atmospheric river is in the forecast this week.

Officers issued 8 sites to evacuate encampments, when they came across a man armed with a sheath knife around his neck, according to police. The subject was leaving an "unsanctioned built structure" on the riverbank.

After searching the suspect, officers found a replica BB handgun and a loaded firearm, $11,211 in cash, 171.7 grams of fentanyl/heroin, 42.9 grams of methamphetamine, and packaging materials for sales, they said.

The 31-year-old was booked into county jail and charged with a previous warrant, possession of controlled substances with the intent to sell, possession of methamphetamine and fentanyl for sale, carrying a concealed firearm, addict in the possession of a firearm, carrying a loaded firearm in public, and carrying an unregistered firearm.

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Melody Waintal

Melody Waintal is the Digital Content Director for and


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