Atwater gang member, 46, accused of firearm possession after search, police say

Merced Police Department/Merced Police Department

A 46-year old Atwater man whom police identified as a gang member was arrested Saturday on suspicion of possessing several firearms.

A Merced Police Department Gang Unit Officer was reported to have obtained information that Jose Gutierrez had access to several firearms in his home. Gutierrez is a known gang member, according to police.

Officers were able to stop Gutierrez about 10:30 a.m. as he was leaving his home and served a search warrant for the residence.

While officers had Gutierrez detained on the traffic stop, a family member, Sukhkiran Kaur Cheema, 23, arrived on the scene. Officers had a warrant for Cheema’s vehicle, and they located a loaded 9 mm handgun next to her driver’s seat.

Officers went back to search Gutierrez and Cheema’s home in the 2000 block of Chadala Court in Atwater and said they located a .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle and a .45 caliber handgun.

Gutierrez was arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a prohibited person and was taken to the Merced County Jail. Gutierrez’s bond is set at $150,000, according to jail records.

Cheema was arrested and cited on suspicion of possession of a concealed loaded firearm in a vehicle.

Merced police are asking anyone with any information regarding this crime to contact Officer Arnulfo Centeno at 209-388-7742 or by email at