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Dog sniffs out $20K in drug money
Parole sweep yields 2 stolen cars, 30 grams of meth
sweepDSC 2048a
Officers lead handcuffed Gerald Galloway, 31, from his apartment in the 500 block of North Lincoln Avenue about 9:30 Wednesday morning. He was also charged with possession of a stun gun and the theft of a 2009 Subaru van parked at the curb that had been stolen from a Wawona Street homeowner. Items taken from that home were als found in the van, officers said. - photo by GLENN KAHL
“Rusty” the Manteca Police Department’s drug dog, was the star of a region wide parole sweep on St. Patrick’s Day Wednesday hitting on the “green” – $20,000 in green cold hard cash.

Rusty’s handler, Officer Mike Kelly, responded with his dog to a residence in the 500 block of O Street in Lathrop at about 10 a.m. where officers suspected drugs were hidden in the home.  

It was not drugs that the canine initially sniffed out, but rather the stack of money police believe was derived from sales of narcotics.  Rusty continued on to discover drugs that were secreted away from the pile of cash to complete his first assignment of his shift.

Five teams of officers from as far away as Amador County along with Tracy, Ripon, Lathrop Police Services, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, Delta Auto Theft Task Force, U.S. Marshal’s Service, and the San Joaquin County Probation Department  took part in the Manteca Police sweep with a total of 62 officers on the street from Lathrop to Ripon.

Manteca Police Chief Dave Bricker had warned of the probation and parole sweep several weeks ago when he spoke before the Manteca Rotary Club at its noon luncheon.

One team had two addresses to check out in Lathrop – both located on O Street – recognized Ramiro Casterjon, 22, walking on the sidewalk as being one of their wanted individuals.  Realizing the police were eye-to-eye with him, he ran down the sidewalk and into one of the two houses on the list – not his home – and barricaded himself from the police.

Casterjon was reportedly arrested on an outstanding warrant and for resisting arrest inside the Lathrop home thought to be that of the other wanted individual.

It was only after officers brought him out of the residence and arrested him they realized he actually belonged in the second house they were intending to search.  However,  because of that pursuit they were able to locate the $20,000  and the methamphetamine with the eventual help of the canine.  

Much of Manteca’s gang problem based in Lathrop & Tracy
The sweep began at 9 a.m. and lasted until 5 netted nearly a dozen arrests, 30 grams of methamphetamine and two stolen cars and obviously excited a lot of parolees and probationers.

Detective Sergeant Danny Erb said much of today’s gang problem comes into Manteca from Lathrop with Manteca and Tracy gang members reciprocating back to Lathrop.  It’s a triangle of gang activity, he added, noting  that if Lathrop Police Services opts to be more aggressive toward their gang members that Manteca Police would be there to help them.

Erb also pointed out that all the players in the recent shooting of the two individuals at the Jackson Rancheria are from the general Lathrop area.  

Erb stressed there was little overtime involved in the sweep as officers were working their normal shifts with only two exceptions. Those two officers were definitely needed because of their knowledge of gang members, he said.

“Everyone on our list (to contact) was either a gang member or known to associate with a gang member,” he said.  And they were watching out for their buddies alerting them that officers were working a sweep.  “I knew you were coming,” he quoted one member of a gang who said he had received a phone call from someone who had already had a police sweep visit at their door.

Each of the police teams had two Manteca officers with them.  DELTARAT officer Stephen Schluer led his first search effort at an apartment complex in the 500 block of North Lincoln Avenue about 9:30 Wednesday morning.

Parole found with stolen car from Manteca
With officers surrounding a ground level apartment half way into the complex,  they located Gerald Galloway, 31. They found him in possession of a stun gun along with a 2009 Subaru van that a neighbor noted he was driving that was parked at the curbing.  It had been stolen earlier in the month from a Wawona Street residence on the south side of Manteca.

That residence had also been burglarized, police said, and property from that burglary was reportedly found in the vehicle.

Schluer and his team got a tip as they worked into their day that a chop shop was being operated behind a rural home in the 500 block of South Airport Way.  In a field behind the house they found the remains of a 1992 Honda Accord that had been stripped – stolen in Ceres on January 25.

Tim Franklin, 39, was found hiding in a closet in the house and was arrested on a warrant out of Lodi, officers said.  Michelle Johnson was also arrested for possession of methamphetamine.

Officers then visited an apartment – the last in a series back from the street – in the 700 block of South Union Road.  They were paying Marion Cross, 41, a visit due to a recent negative drug test, they said.  Officers were forced to kick in the door when Cross didn’t answer their knocks, putting him in handcuffs and sitting him down on the grass outside the front door.

Stack of five-dollar bills all had same serial numbers
Police said they found a number of $5 bills in his room that all had the same serial number printed on them.  In addition to his probation violation for drug use,  he was charged with possession of counterfeit bills, officers said.

The sweep ended with team leaders meeting with Detective Sergeant Danny Erb for their debriefing session.  Police said many of those on their list were not at home when they went to their doors.  Some were given citations and released from custody, he added.