A routine traffic stop in Evanston Friday lead to the arrest of a suspected gang member on charges of unlawful use of a weapon and possession of stolen property, police reported.
Officers arrested two men from Evanston after they stopped a vehicle for a minor traffic violation at Simpson Street and Crawford Avenue around 8:30 p.m. Friday, July 13, according to a press release from the police department.
Officers decided to search the car and its occupants after they noticed the smell of cannabis and observed one of the four passengers making "furtive movements" in the backseat, according to the release. With the help of the Skokie Police Department's canine unit, police found four grams of marijuana and a loaded, .38-caliber handgun in a backpack in the backseat.
Police discovered that the gun had been reported stolen in the state of Michigan, and that the backpack belonged to one of the men in the backseat, Eduardo A. Cruz. The 28-year-old resident of the 2000 block of Dodge Avenue is a suspected gang member, police said, and was the owner of the backpack in which officers found the gun.
Cruz was arrested and charged with one felony count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and three misdemeanor counts, for theft or possession of stolen property, possession of a firearm without a valid ID and possession of ammunition without a valid ID, police said.
Officers also arrested the driver, Luis D. Gomez, 25, of the 2100 block of Emerson Street, and charged him with a city ordinance violation for possession of cannabis, according to police.
Both men are scheduled to appear in Cook County Circuit Court in Skokie at 9 a.m. Friday, July 27.