Friday, 03 February 2023

Clearlake man arrested on coast during meth bust

CLEARLAKE – A Clearlake man was arrested in Mendocino County last week on two drug-related charges, including allegedly possessing thousands of dollars of methamphetamine.

Carlos Gaona, 34, of Clearlake and Rodger Branch, 48, of Willits were arrested just before 10 p.m. Feb. 5 after a traffic stop on Highway 1 in Fort Bragg, according to a Monday report from Lt. Rusty Noe of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

Branch was driving, with Gaona riding as a passenger, when Mendocino deputies stopped the vehicle, Noe reported.

Noe said Branch allegedly was displaying signs of being under the influence of a controlled substance, and was asked to step out of the vehicle. He ultimately admitted to having used methamphetamine earlier in the day.

During the stop deputies were advised that Gaona had an active $10,000 arrest warrant for his arrest out of Napa County, Noe said.

Gaona was subsequently arrested for the warrant and deputies searched the vehicle, according to Noe's report.

During the vehicle search deputies found approximately 39 grams of methamphetamine and a scale used to weigh the drug, Noe said.

Noe said the 39 grams of meth was a “good-sized” find. The drug is valued at about $100 per gram, which in this case totals $3,900.

Branch and Gaona were arrested for possession of a controlled substance for sale and transportation of a controlled substance for sale, Noe said. Branch additionally was charged with being under the influence of a controlled substance.

Both men were taken to the Mendocino County Jail where they were booked and bail was set at $35,000 each.

Noe said the case is still under investigation.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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