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Chop Shop Shut Down in Royal Oaks

A wanted man hiding from deputies led them right into a stash of stolen cars.

A North Monterey County man was arrested on suspicion he's been operating a chop shop in Royal Oaks after sheriff's deputies discovered three stolen vehicles, a stolen license plate and a vehicle that was involved in a hit-and-run on his property, the Monterey County Sheriff's Office reported.

The man, Martin Marroquin, 39, was wanted. Deputies went to his home, at 198 Hidden Valley Rd., around 3 p.m. Thursday to arrest him. When he tried to hide, they spotted a license plate attached to a vehicle on the property that matched a stolen vehicle and saw other vehicles cover with tarps, the Sheriff's Office reported.

That prompted officers assigned to the Auto-Theft Task Force to seek a search warrant and scour through the property, near Kirby Park. Three stolen vehicles were recovered, as well as the stolen license plate and a fourth vehicle that the California Highway Patrol had been looking for in connection with a hit-and-run in Monterey County, according to the the Monterey County Sheriff's Office.

Marroquin was jailed on suspicion of operating a chop shop, resisting arrest and possessing stoeln property, as well as committing another crime while out on bail. His warrant was for grand theft, according to the Sheriff's Office.

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