Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

On Dec. 30, 2021, at about 1:06 a.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies on patrol in the McKinleyville area conducted a routine traffic stop for a vehicle code violation on Central Avenue.

Photo: HCSO.

Deputies contacted two individuals inside the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle, 44-year-old Joseph George Birnie, was found to have a restraining order against him prohibiting contact between Birnie and the adult female passenger of the vehicle.

Birnie was taken into custody for violating the restraining order. During a search of Birnie and his vehicle incident to arrest, deputies located over 5 grams of methamphetamine, over six pounds of processed cannabis, a loaded firearm, ammunition and materials consistent with the sale of controlled substances.

Birnie was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of felon in possession of a firearm (PC 29800(a)(1)), possession of a controlled substance while armed (HS 11370.1(a)), transportation/sale of a controlled substance (HS 11379(a)), possession of a controlled substance for sales (HS 11378), violating a court order (PC 273.6(a)) and possession of cannabis (HS 11357(a)).

The female passenger was released at the scene.

Anyone with information about this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.