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Guatemalan arrested with stolen gun and dead deer in back of SUV

A Guatemalan teenager was arrested when officers noticed a dead deer in the back of his vehicle and found the stolen gun used to shoot it.

Melvin Ruvein Lopez
Melvin Ruvein Lopez

An officer on routine patrol observed a silver SUV fail to stop while leaving Circle K, located at 391 State Road 19, around 3 a.m. Saturday, according to an arrest report from the Umatilla Police Department. He positioned himself behind the vehicle and activated his blue lights to initiate a traffic stop with the vehicle coming to rest at Turtle Run and State Road 19. 

The officer then spoke with the driver, identified as 18-year-old Melvin Ruvein Lopez. He did not speak English, so Google Translate was used to determine his name and that he did not have a valid driver’s license. There were four others in the vehicle who also did not have valid licenses, the report said. 

The Lake County Communications Center was asked to run his name and date of birth. The center advised he only had an ID card, the report said. 

While the officer allowed Lopez to call his wife, another officer noticed a deer through the back window of the SUV. He asked the other officer to look to verify, to which he also observed a bloodied deer through the window. It was at that point the officer detained everyone in the vehicle, the report said. 

The officer asked Lopez where the deer came from, and he advised that he shot it. He next asked where the gun was, to which Lopez stated it was in the front part of the car. The officer found a 9mm pistol in the center console, using the serial number to determine it was stolen out of Jacksonville. Lopez was subsequently placed in the back of a patrol vehicle while the officer notified Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation to respond for the dead deer, the report said. 

When the FWC officer responded, he observed the dead deer in the back of the SUV with blood dripping from its body, according to an arrest report from the FWC. He read Lopez his rights in Spanish, and Lopez understood and agreed to talk, the report said. 

The officer asked Lopez if he shot the deer, and he responded yes. He asked when and where he shot the deer, and he stated it was that night about 20 miles north of where the traffic stop happened. He used his vehicle’s headlights to aid in hunting the deer, the report said. 

Lopez was ultimately charged with grand theft (firearm), no valid driver’s license, and possession of a freshly killed deer out of season and taking a freshly killed deer with use of gun and light. He was transported to Lake County Jail and released after posting $5,500 bond. 

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