An assistant baseball coach at East Salinas High School was arrested Wednesday after buying cocaine from a suspect in the school’s parking lot near the baseball field, Salinas police said today. At 4 p.m. Wednesday, police officers saw a car drive into the school’s parking lot near the baseball field and saw Ronald Stevens, 55, assistant coach for the East Salinas boys’ baseball team, walk to another car and buy cocaine, police Cmdr. Michael Groves said. Stevens then walked toward the baseball field, got into his car and drove away, as did the driver of the other car, according to Groves. Officers pulled over the other car, driven by Alberto Manriquez, 56, arrested him and then contacted Stevens and arrested him near the baseball field, police said.
While searching Stevens’ car, officers located a small bundle containing cocaine, according to Groves. Police later served search warrants at Stevens’ and Manriquez’s residences and recovered an ounce of cocaine and marijuana at the coach’s home, Groves said. The drugs were under the control of Stevens’ son, 26-year-old Shawn Stevens, who also was arrested. All three were taken to the Salinas Police Department for questioning. Police later booked Manriquez into the Monterey County Jail in Salinas on suspicion of possessing cocaine, possession of cocaine for sale, transporting cocaine and false identification. Ronald Stevens was booked on suspicion of possessing cocaine and Shawn Stevens was booked for possessing cocaine, possessing cocaine for sale and possessing marijuana for sale.
Over the past several weeks, Salinas police had placed undercover officers to survey the high school’s back parking lot and another parking lot next to the school based on complaints that illegal drugs were taking place there on a regular basis. The undercover police confirmed that drugs were being sold in the rear school parking lot and observed Stevens and Manriquez there after officers returned to watch the lot on Wednesday. A spokesman for the superintendent of the Salinas Union High School District in Salinas could not be reached this morning to comment on the arrest of East Salinas High’s assistant baseball coach. The high school’s baseball team is in the midst of playing its spring season, according to the school’s website.
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