Berkeley police investigators seized a cache of weapons from an Emeryville Triangle neighborhood home last Thursday morning. An investigation into a gun transaction led to the discovery of the weapons according to authorities and court documents.
Homicide detectives served a search warrant to 39-year-old Ernie Vegas who resided on the 4300 block of Essex Street according to Berkeley PD spokesman Byron White.
During the search, police found five loaded firearms, including handguns and two assault-style weapons. Police also discovered hundreds of rounds of ammunition, including a 100-round drum loaded with illegal armor-piercing rounds.
“All of the firearms were loaded and Detectives recovered over 140 rounds of pistol ammunition and over 180 rounds of rifle ammunition. 60 of the recovered rifle rounds were armor-piercing rounds,” according to court papers.
Vegas “admitted to buying all the guns off the streets” and “admitted he should not possess guns but stated he does so for protection,” according to court documents.
Tuesday, the Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Vegas with nine felonies related to possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of ammunition and possession of armor-piercing rounds, according to court documents.
His past convictions include robbery and firearm possession, and date back nearly 20 years.
Vegas remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on $535,000 bail. His next court appearance was not listed in online records.
This story by Berkeleyside Senior Reporter Emilie Raguso was republished with permission.