Staff Report

Sheriff’s deputies arrested two suspects who were found in possession of a stolen catalytic converter and illegal firearms in the evening on Oct. 21. 

At approximately 9:20 p.m., deputies responded to the 3500-block of Madera Street in Santa Ynez for a report of a possible theft of a catalytic converter from an RV. Deputies were advised that the suspect’s vehicle was a small dark-colored Honda sedan that had just left the area. 

A deputy in the area located the Honda one minute later near Edison and Highway 154. A traffic stop was conducted, and two occupants were contacted inside of the vehicle. 

The driver was identified as 29-year-old Edgar Puga of Santa Maria, and the passenger was identified as 34-year-old Alejandro Maldonado of Santa Maria. Under Maldonado’s feet was the stolen catalytic converter with an electric hand saw. 

During a search of the vehicle, deputies discovered an unregistered short-barreled assault rifle with a 30-round magazine, an unregistered polymer 9mm handgun, and a Smith and Wesson .38 Special. Burglary tools were also located in the vehicle, and Puga was found in possession methamphetamine. 

Both suspects were arrested and booked at the Main Jail. Puga was booked for driving without a license (misdemeanor), possession of a controlled substance (misdemeanor), carrying a concealed firearm (misdemeanor), conspiracy (felony), grand theft (felony), possession of a short-barreled rifle (felony), possession of a burglary tools (felony), and possession of an assault rifle (felony). Puga also had five misdemeanor warrants for his arrest. Puga is being held with an enhanced bail of $250,000. 

Maldonado was booked for conspiracy (felony), grand theft (felony), possession of burglary tools (felony) and impersonating another person (felony). Maldonado is on active parole and is being held without bail for a violation of his parole.