The following is a press release issued by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:
On 12-16-2021 about 11:35 PM a Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputy conducted a traffic stop on a Honda Civic for vehicle code violations in the 21000 block of Meadowbrook Drive in Willits, California.
The Honda initially pulled over but then accelerated northbound at a high rate of speed.
The Honda continued traveling at a high rate of speed on city streets. Due to the weather conditions (foggy and wet) and the danger to the public, the pursuit was terminated with the Honda being last seen traveling eastbound on East Valley Street in Willits.
Deputies conducted an investigation and found the driver of the Honda was Rafael Paz with an address on Eastside Road in Willits.
Deputies responded to Paz’s address and located the vehicle, which had not been registered since 2020.
Deputies could see Paz inside a small shed like structure, laying on a bed. Deputies knocked and announced themselves and the door was opened by a female.
Paz was subsequently placed under arrest for reckless driving while evading (2800.2 VC).
In plain view inside the shed, they saw the key to the Honda, along with a large amount of suspected methamphetamine and fentanyl. A search warrant was authored and other evidence suggesting sales of a controlled substance was located in the shed.
Deputies further discovered Paz was out on bail on two separate cases associated with controlled substance sales and fleeing law enforcement.
Paz was arrested on the additional charges of possession of a controlled substance for sale (11351 HS, and 11378 HS), Transportation of a controlled substance (11352 HS and 11379 HS) and committing a felony offense while on bail (12022.1 PC)
Paz was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $35.000.00 bail.