Running out of gas leads to drug arrest in Nevada County |

Running out of gas leads to drug arrest in Nevada County

Ernesto Munoz Santana

If he’d just topped off the gas tank, Ernesto Munoz Santana likely would have avoided the Nevada County Jail.

Instead the 40-year-old Santana, of Modesto, remained Friday in jail under $35,000 in bond for possession of a narcotic substance and having ammunition, reports state.

A deputy around 3:30 a.m. Thursday spotted Santana and a woman on Highway 49, near Auburn Road. The pair had run out of gas and they waved at the deputy for help, Sheriff Keith Royal said.

Santana and the woman asked for a ride to a nearby gas station and the deputy agreed, the sheriff added.

“But it’s policy — you don’t put anybody in the car without ensuring they don’t have contraband,” Royal said.

The deputy patted down Santana and felt something in his waistband, the sheriff said.

“So he asks him what it is and he tells him — drugs,” he added.

The deputy found a bag with almost an ounce of suspected cocaine on Santana. He also found ammunition in his vehicle, which warranted another charge because Santana has previous felony convictions, Royal said.

Santana was then arrested. The woman who was with him faces no charges. The deputy took her to a nearby gas station, the sheriff said.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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