A self-declared sovereign citizen was arrested in California after allegedly leading police on a high-speed chase down the wrong side of the road and dumping his untraceable ghost gun out the window.
Police in American Canyon, California, arrested Eddy Jerrelle Perez, 41, on Sunday during a traffic stop for allegedly having an illegal license plate. While pulled over, Perez told the cops “he was a sovereign citizen and that he did not have to comply with officer’s directions or laws of the government,” according to a police news release. As police tried to remove him from the vehicle, he started the car and ripped away at a high speed down the wrong side of the road. As they were driving, he also allegedly chucked a gun out of the vehicle.
Perez had his mother with him as he fled.
Following Perez’s arrest, police recovered the weapon and found it was a ghost gun, or a firearm without serial numbers. Police then issued a search warrant on the man’s home in Vallejo, California, and found five more weapons, some of which were also ghost guns, along with a bullet proof vest. A police photo of the weapons recovered show two rifles, and three hand guns, one of which was a revolver, in addition to the ghost gun found on the road.
Sovereign citizens are a group of people who believe that they’re not beholden to any government and thus, free from laws. The group has been growing rapidly since the COVID-19 pandemic began, despite their beliefs frequently being proven false. And unsurprisingly, believers frequently come into conflict with the authorities.
At times these disputes have deadly outcomes. Earlier this month, a 25-year-old man was killed by Utah police after being pulled over for driving a vehicle without a proper license plate. (His simply said “American State Citizen.”) The man refused to exit the vehicle and police said they opened fire on him after seeing a gun.
Police allege that Perez’s vehicle’s registration was forged and he was using an illegal license plate “flipper,” a device that hides a plate by flipping it. Perez also had prior charges that restricted him from possessing a firearm. In 2020 he was arrested and charged with multiple felonies following a road rage incident where he allegedly pulled a gun on another driver and shot the vehicle.
Perez is now facing charges of having forged a vehicle registration and owning an illegal license plate. His mother has been charged with one count of resisting arrest. Additional charges relating to the firearms are pending.
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