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Meriden men face gun charges with suspected link to shots fired incidents

Meriden men face gun charges with suspected link to shots fired incidents



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MERIDEN — Two city residents face felony firearm charges following an arrest during a traffic stop Monday.

Richard Ortiz, 20, of 15 Prince St. in Meriden, was charged with weapons in a motor vehicle, theft of a firearm, and carrying a firearm without a permit. 

Wesley Vazquez-Santana, 23, of 151 Hobart St., was charged with weapons in a motor vehicle, carrying a firearm without a permit, and possession of high capacity magazines. 

Police said Ortiz and Vazquez-Santana were arrested during a motor vehicle stop conducted by the department’s Major Crimes Division on Hobart Street Monday. The police department’s online public call log lists a motor vehicle stop around 6:11 p.m. Monday at 44 Hobart St. 

The vehicle contained two loaded handguns, a Smith and Wesson 9mm with two high capacity magazines, as well as a stolen Colt .38 special, according to a statement from police.

Police did not disclose the reason for the motor vehicle stop.

The arrests are believed to be related to recent shots fired calls, according to Lt. John Mennone. The incidents are under investigation. 

The same day Ortiz and Vazquez-Santana were arrested, police responded to at least two calls for “shots fired” or “unlawful discharge.” Both calls were listed at 3 p.m. on Monday, in the areas of 121 Pleasant St. and 134 Windsor Ave., according to the police department’s public call log. 

Police call logs also show a 9 p.m. shots fired call at 161 State St. on Tuesday and a 3:45 a.m. shots fired call on Wednesday in the area of Liberty and Twiss streets. Another shots fired call is listed on Wednesday, starting around 8 a.m., at 251 West Main St. 

Last week, on July 22, police responded to a shots fired call around 5:20 p.m. in the area of 20 N. Second Street. 

“We’re actively investigating all the shots fired calls,” Mennone said Wednesday. 

Mennone said there’s always a safety issue when it comes to gun violence in the city and urged residents to be careful. He said the department is doing what it can to “quell” the recent gun violence.

Both Ortiz and Vazquez-Santana are scheduled to appear in New Haven Superior Court on Sept. 16. The Judicial Branch lists each person’s bond at $50,000 and shows neither has been released from custody. Police initially set both bonds at $350,000, according to the statement.

To report tips for violent crimes, email the Major Crimes Unit at hcardonajr@meridenct.gov or call 203-630-6253.

bwright@record-journal.com203-317-2316Twitter: @baileyfaywright


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