Deputies recover a loaded firearm and arrest three suspects for possession of methamphetamine while armed

On Oct. 27, Deputy Mike Rose initiated a check of a suspicious vehicle in the Vons’ parking lot. Rose observed two subjects walk into the Vons, while one person stayed in the car. Rose contacted the occupant and identified him as Joseph Vita, 33, of Redlands. Rose saw drug paraphernalia in plain view and detained Vita without incident. Nicholas Thornton, 40, of Mentone and April Snyder, 23, of San Bernardino were found to be the two other occupants of the car and they were detained without incident.

During a search of the vehicle, deputies located a loaded .25 caliber Beretta pistol, approximately one ounce of methamphetamine, a scale and baggies, consistent with drug sales. Deputies also found the three arrested to be babysitting a 10-month old child.

At the conclusion of the investigation, Vita and Thornton were arrested for possession of methamphetamine while armed and Snyder was arrested for being under the influence of drugs. All three were booked into West Valley Detention Center and all three face additional possible charges of child endangerment. The child was cared for by deputies and later released to Children and Family Services.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact Yucaipa Station at 918-2305. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME(27463) or you may leave information on the website at


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