Update: Menlo Park police arrest four on drug charges


By Miranda Simon

Special to the Almanac

Menlo Park police arrested four men this week in two separate incidents on drug-related charges in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto. Three were arrested on suspicion of possessing narcotics for sale and a fourth on suspicion of possessing narcotics paraphernalia.

The Menlo Park arrests were made Feb. 2 after officers with the Narcotics Enforcement Team, responding to complaints of drug dealing in the 1200 block of Windermere Avenue in Belle Haven, found four men standing next to a parked car containing over a pound and a half of marijuana, a small portion in plain view. The drug's street value was about $6,000, said Sgt. Eric Cowans of the Menlo Park Police Department.

Manuare Hernandez, 26, of Menlo Park was arrested on charges of possession and transportation of marijuana for sale, Sgt. Cowans said. Israel Mora, 35, of Menlo Park, who was on probation, was arrested on suspicion of possessing narcotic paraphernalia, police said.

Sgt. Cowans said they may make more arrests in relation to this case.

"Generally when somebody is in possession of that much marijuana, it is definitely going to be connected to a much larger operation because he has to have purchased it from someone else," he said, adding that complaints of drug trafficking in the Belle Haven area -- though ongoing -- has increased in the past three weeks.

East Palo Alto arrests

Arresting the two men in Menlo Park was simple compared to one of the arrests in East Palo Alto, Sgt. Cowans said. In Menlo Park, he said, "We pulled up, we made contact. The marijuana was pretty much in plain view. Nobody gave us a hard time."

East Palo Alto was a different story.

Officers with the Menlo Park Narcotics Enforcement Team had been patrolling in the area on Feb. 1 when they attempted to make contact with a man who was on probation, Sgt. Cowan said.

"When we tried to contact him, he was on a bicycle, committing a vehicle code violation -- riding on the wrong side of the street," Sgt. Cowans said.

When police approached him, he fled on foot, pushing over a small child standing in the driveway of a nearby home, Sgt. Cowans said.

The man led police in a chase through several backyards before he was caught in the 1100 block of O'Connor Street in East Palo Alto, he said.

Jeffery Hamilton, 24, of San Leandro was arrested on charges of possession and transportation of cocaine base for sale, and resisting arrest, police said. He was booked into San Mateo County jail.

Following up on the arrest of Mr. Hamilton, police returned to the same location on Feb. 2 and arrested Gary Gates, 49, from East Palo Alto on charges of probation violation and possession of cocaine base for sale, police said.

"A lot of times we like to go back after the arrest to find things that were out there that we might have missed. You might find a witness," Sgt. Cowans said. "In this case, we wanted to make more photographs of the location and, when we were pulling up to the location, (the suspect) was standing outside."

The arrest of Mr. Gates is unrelated to the arrest of Mr. Hamilton, Sgt. Cowans said.

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