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$1.2M in meth, pot seized

Raids net 300 pounds of pot, 28 pounds of meth

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$1.2M in meth, pot seized

Part of the roughly 300 pounds of marijuana – nearly all of it processed – sits stacked outside of the Manteca Police Department following a Thursday morning narcotics raid on five houses in Mantec...

JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin


POSTED October 18, 2013 1:04 a.m.

A year-long narcotics investigation yielded more than 28 pounds of methamphetamine and 300 pounds of marijuana after local law enforcement officials executed a coordinated sweep across San Joaquin County Thursday morning.

The Manteca Police Department Street Crimes unit organized the multi-jurisdictional effort that spanned Manteca and into Stockton. It yielded more than $1.2 million worth of illegal drugs. Detectives also discovered a pair of stolen handguns, two stolen vehicles, an assault rifle and a large assortment of cash.

Methamphetamine manufacturing was also believed to be involved. More than 500 marijuana plants were also seized.

According to Manteca Police Detective Sergeant Chris Mraz, the street crimes unit, acting on a tip, began an investigation more than a year ago that led to uncovering an elaborate drug distribution network. A house inside of Manteca’s city limits was raided early Thursday morning along with four others – including one on Castle Road, two in the unincorporated area outside of Stockton, and one inside of Stockton’s city limits.

Inside officers discovered finished methamphetamine that was ready for sale as well as product in various stages of development. Large, garbage-sized bags of marijuana were already pre-sorted and scattered among three of the houses.

Officers arrested Manteca Lorena Farias 33, on charges of cultivation of marijuana, possession of drugs for sale and possession of stolen property. Also arrested was Rafael Medina, 42, of Stockton, on charges of possession of narcotics for sale and possession of an assault rifle. Additional arrests are charges are expected.

“That amount of methamphetamine is significant and it represents a sizable portion that is off the street, but what really sticks out to me is the nearly 300 pounds of marijuana that is not available for kids – the stuff that we typically see turn up in schools,” Mraz said. “It’s accessible and this is a large amount that won’t be making its way onto the streets.”

He praised the “allied” law enforcement effort – the collaborative work between the San Joaquin County Metro Narcotics task force, the Stockton Gang Violence Suppression Task Force, the Delta Regional Auto Theft task force and a handful of Manteca Police units including School Resource Officers and the Gang Suppression and Traffic units – that made serving the search warrants concurrently in all five places possible.

“There’s no way that we could have done this all by ourselves,” Mraz said. “When you start talking about that many places you’re giving the suspects the opportunity to escape or evidence goes missing, but we were able to seize everything in this case and do so safely.”

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