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Men arrested for alleged assault rifle possession following Downtown Palm Springs fight

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Two men, one of whom was previously convicted of being an accessory to murder, were arrested after officers investigating a weekend fight in downtown Palm Springs found a loaded assault rifle and ammunition in one of the suspect's vehicles and later seized more weapons at a 
residence, police announced Thursday.

Phillipe Pavia, 39, and Raymond Gomez, 33, both of Indio, were detained by police at 1:25 a.m. Sunday, after officers, responded to reports of a brawl in the 100 block of South Palm Canyon Drive involving "several subjects,'' during which a "firearm was possibly seen,'' Sgt. William 
Hutchinson said.

Police located Pavia and Gomez in the parking lot of the La Plaza Center, where officers saw "an AR-15 assault rifle in plain view on the passenger floorboard'' of one of the men's vehicles, the sergeant said.

Both suspects posted bail after being booked into county jail on suspicion of various firearm and ammunition possession charges.

A follow-up investigation by the Riverside County District Attorney Gang Impact Team led investigators to serve to a search warrant Thursday morning at Pavia's home in the 43600 block of Main Street in Indio, where they seized five more guns, ammunition and 110 grams of cocaine and took him into custody, Hutchinson said.

Both men have criminal histories, but Pavia's is more extensive, including previously being charged in a 2000 Indio murder case, court records show.

Another man, Juan Rafael Sousa, was convicted of the murder, the details of which were not immediately available, and Pavia pleaded guilty in 2001 to being an accessory.

Pavia remains jailed, following a judge's approval to increase his bail to $1 million. He is slated to be arraigned Friday morning in Indio, while Gomez is due in court in January.

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