CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Forensic evidence from two unrelated cases links a felon to new charges.
On Oct. 24, 2020, Cape Coral Police initiated a traffic stop on a black BMW for running a stop sign at the 1300 block of NE Pine Island Road. The vehicle was very slow to stop and traveled approximately half a mile before finally pulling over.
The officer made contact with the driver, and the passenger, Jesus Mendez. According to police, both Mendez and the driver acted extremely nervous, and both were convicted felons.
A K9 officer arrived as backup and conducted an open-air sniff of the BMW, resulting in an alert.
A search of the vehicle revealed a loaded Glock handgun and one extended magazine behind the driver’s seat under a pillow. Police say the position the gun was found in appeared recently placed, as any vehicle movement would have tipped the gun onto its side.
Both men were detained and interviewed, but possession of the gun could not be determined at that time. Both were released, the driver with a citation for the stop sign and a warning for illegal tint on the BMW. The gun was collected as evidence, and processed for fingerprints, which came back negative, and for touch DNA.
On Nov. 7, Mendez was arrested during a separate incident and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and aggravated assault. A search warrant was obtained for his DNA. The driver of the BMW was also incarcerated on unrelated charges, and a search warrant was also obtained for his DNA.
Results came in on Jan. 28, after comparing the DNA of both men to what investigators found on the gun from the October traffic stop. It was Mendez’s DNA that was on the weapon.
Mendez, 22, of 1006 NE 9th Terrace, was arrested in Southwest Cape Coral and is facing charges of possession of a weapon/ammo by a convicted felon. He is also charged with violation of an injunction, as he was found in the company of a person whom he was court-ordered to stay away from.