ST. GEORGE — Two immigrants living in the country illegally were arrested on a variety of charges Sunday after pulling a gun on the beaches of Sand Hollow during a confrontation spurred by an alleged love triangle.
Officers responded to Sand Hollow State Park on a report of two Hispanic males with a gun assaulting another man on the beach, according to a probable cause statement filed by the Utah Department of State Parks and Recreation in support of the arrest.
Witnesses reported that the two Hispanic males were driving a black Honda Accord with a female passenger.
Officers located the vehicle and spoke with the driver who was identified as Mario Esteban Zepeda-Palma, a male passenger identified as Juan Carlos Pacheco-Martinez and a female passenger identified as Mejia Florectia, the arresting officer wrote in a sworn statement.
When asked if there were any weapons in the vehicle, all three individuals denied having any weapons, the report stated.
After obtaining consent to search the vehicle, authorities located a backpack belonging to Pacheco-Martinez, according to the statement. Inside the backpack, officers located a loaded .22-caliber revolver wrapped in a towel, methamphetamine and two pipes with methamphetamine residue.
Falsified social security documents were also found in Pacheco-Martinez’s wallet inside the backpack.
Pacheco-Martinez allegedly admitted that the handgun was his and that he had purchased it from an unknown party for $200, the officer said.
When questioned about the incident, witnesses told authorities that four males were playing soccer on the beach, the report stated, when Zepeda-Palma showed up and began threatening one of the male soccer players.
The confrontation had allegedly ensued over Florectia, who had previously dated the male but was now dating Zepeda-Palma, the report stated. During the confrontation, Zepeda-Palma reportedly lifted up his shirt and brandished a black handgun toward the male subject.
“Zepeda-Palma brandished the black handgun and asked Mejia (Florectia) if he should shoot (the male subject) and Mejia (Florectia) said, ‘Do it,’” the officer wrote in the statement. “Zepeda-Palma responded with, ‘There are too many people around.’”
After reviewing information on Zepeda-Palma and Pacheco-Martinez, the two were discovered to be immigrants illegally in the country, according to the statement.
The duo was arrested and transported to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
The Washington County Attorney’s Office filed an information in 5th District Court accusing Zepeda-Palma of second-degree felony possession of a dangerous weapon, third-degree felony aggravated assault, class A misdemeanor drug possession, class B misdemeanor drug paraphernalia possession and an infraction for not obtaining a valid driver’s license.
Zepeda-Palma is scheduled to appear before Judge Jeffrey Wilcox in 5th District Court Thursday for his initial appearance.
Prosecutors charged Pacheco-Martinez with second-degree felony possession of a dangerous weapon, class A misdemeanor drug possession and class B misdemeanor drug paraphernalia possession.
Pacheco-Martinez is scheduled to appear before Judge Eric Ludlow in court Tuesday afternoon.
As this report is published, the two remain in police custody, according to booking information.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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