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Probation sweep nets 7 arrests for drug trafficking, other violations
Manteca Police Detective Steve Harris and Gang Officer Jason Hensley escort a juvenile outside after finding marijuana in his home on a probation search. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
Five area juveniles and two adults were arrested Wednesday as part of a coordinated probation sweep conducted by the police departments of Manteca, Stockton, and Escalon as well as the San Joaquin County Probation Department. A parole agent with the California Department of Corrections was also part of the sweep.

Several of the juveniles targeted in the sweep will have their probation violated, according to Manteca gang officer Jason Hensley.

The officers recovered more than a pound of marijuana, 40 ecstasy pills, a mobile scale, and evidence of trafficking from the Thomsen Road home in Lathrop that they visited as their last stop of the day. Officers arrested 19-year-old Patrick Washburne – who produced a compassionate-use certificate for the officers after they discovered his large stash of marijuana. It wasn’t until officers found text messages on Washburne’s phone that they say implicated him in drug sales that they made the arrest.

Officers left several small marijuana plants at the home.

The day started off with a bang at the 500 block of Moffat Boulevard when somebody at the home they were attempting to search fled out the back door. The suspect – later arrested on an outstanding warrant and identified as 31-year-old Miguel Botello – eventually fell into a swimming pool at the 600 block of Moffat Boulevard, and was quickly taken in for processing shortly afterward.

But according to Manteca Police Detective Marnix Lub, who connected the cell phone on Washburne to the large quantity of marijuana found, not one of the stops is intended to catch juveniles doing something they’re not supposed to do.

“We talked to one kid earlier that was a gang member from the Bay Area that moved out to straighten up his life, and that appears exactly what he’s doing,” Lub said. “We didn’t find anything in that house. What’s good about these is if we can show them at a younger age that the road they’re heading down leads to nowhere, maybe that’s one less person we have to deal with as an adult.”

One of the juveniles will likely have his probation violated for possession of a small stun gun – found during the search of a Lathrop home – and a traffic stop performed on a driver with expired tags yielded nothing.  

“I think that it serves as a big deterrent to other juveniles that might see us come and realize that they can be searched at any time if they’re on probation,” Lub said. “If we can prevent somebody from entering into this kind of lifestyle, then a day like today was successful.”