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Two ‘career criminals’ arrested on gun charges in Dorchester

Boston police said they arrested two career criminals in Dorchester Tuesday night after an unloaded firearm in their possession was uncovered during a traffic stop.

James Mendes, 24, of Dorchester, and Jonathan Brown, 22, of Mattapan, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Dorchester Municipal Court.

They were charged under the state’s armed career criminal law, which can subject people who have previous convictions to enhanced penalties.

Mendes is being held on $75,000 bail and Brown on $2,500 bail, according to Renee Algarin, a spokeswoman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley.

Mendes faces charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and operating without a license, and Brown is accused of unlawful possession of a firearm, police said.


They will appear in Suffolk County Gun Court on Aug. 20, Algarin said.

In Tuesday’s arrest, officers saw Mendes driving a rented vehicle with Brown in the passenger seat at about 5:30 p.m., police said, and were aware that he did not have a license.

They pulled him over near Adams and Robinson streets, and allegedly saw a box labeled “North American Arms” in plain sight.

With the help of a K-9 unit, police said, they found an unloaded North American Arms .22-caliber Magnum firearm in the vehicle, then arrested the two men.

Mendes had previously been convicted of distributing a Class B controlled substance, prosecutors said, and had convictions on his juvenile record. He also faces a career criminal case from June, when he was accused of gun and ammunition offenses.

Brown’s career criminal charge is based on convictions for assault with a dangerous weapon and “violent offenses committed as a juvenile,” prosecutors said.

He was also charged this month with assault and battery, strangulation, and unarmed robbery.

A judge declined to revoke Brown’s bail on that and another open case regarding destruction of property.


Sarah Roberts can be reached at sarah.roberts@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @heysarahroberts.