Five men police say are gang members were arrested Wednesday afternoon in Watsonville after a police chase in a car and on foot, police said. At around 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, police officers spotted two wanted men in a vehicle driving near the intersection of Freedom Boulevard and Brennan Street. The officers attempted to stop the vehicle, but it did not stop. The vehicle drove away from police until it stopped to drop off one of the wanted suspects, Patrick Diaz, 19, of Watsonville. Diaz then ran off, police said. Officers chased Diaz and caught him a few minutes later. Other officers, including gang unit officers, continued to chase the vehicle for about 11 miles through parts of unincorporated Watsonville and back into city limits.
During the chase, police determined the car was filled with several known gang members, police said. The chase ended in the 100 block of Grant Street near the Watsonville Police Department station. When the vehicle stopped, two of the passengers ran away, including parolee Lex Perez, 28, of Watsonville, and Andrew Rodriguez, 19, of Santa Cruz, who is a wanted suspect in a separate crime, police said. Officers caught Perez and arrested him on suspicion of resisting arrest and violating parole. Rodriguez ran into a nearby home and hid from police.
A K9 unit came to the area to search for Rodriguez and tracked him to 116 Maple St. where he was arrested on suspicion of having an outstanding felony warrant and resisting arrest, according to police. The driver, identified as Samuel Duran, 18, whose address is unknown, was also arrested on suspicion of felony evasion with a gang enhancement. The remaining person in the car, Mario Fregoso, 18, of Watsonville, was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest, according to police. The five supposed gang members were booked at the Santa Cruz County Jail.
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