By JASON CAMPBELL
Sometimes it takes a little while for detectives to build a case.
And this past week the Manteca Police Department Street Crimes Unit made a big one – announcing that as the result of several months’ worth of investigative work, detectives were able to arrest seven people and take multiple pounds of dangerous narcotics off the streets.
According to the Manteca Police Department, the case began back in July when patrol and street crimes officers noticed a drug deal taking place and discovered 3.2 pounds of methamphetamine and a loaded handgun inside of the vehicle.
The following month officers witnessed a second drug deal and again stopped the vehicle seven ounces of methamphetamine and $2,500 in cash. Detectives then applied for a warrant and were able to seize an additional 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine at the house of one of the suspects.
And the case culminated earlier this month when detectives served a warrant at a home in Stockton connected to the case and discovered 2.3 pounds of cocaine, over 11 ounces of methamphetamine, 3 grams of crack cocaine, over $73,000 in cash, and ammunition including drum and extended magazines.
Initially charged for the July stop and seizure were 51-year-old Paul Cooper, 30-year-old Richard Breakfield, 38-year-old Faith Williams and 38-year-old Stephanie Hernandez. Joseph Martinez, 38, was taken into custody as a result of the police action in August, and earlier this month 27-year-old Benacio Maldonado and 30-year-old Jose Dominguez were arrested for the discovery in Stockton.
Dominguez was subsequently charged with both previous cases and is current remanded to custody at the San Joaquin County Jail without bail.
In addition to the cash, the narcotics seized as a result of the busts had a wholesale street value of more almost $40,000 that would have returned much more if sold in smaller quantities.
Many of the drugs that were recovered, according to a Manteca Police Department detective, were either already on Manteca’s streets or headed to them for distribution.
The announcement of the arrests represented a month’s worth of undercover and investigative work to bring the people responsible for the trafficking operation to justice.
Several of those who were arrested are not currently in custody at the San Joaquin County Jail, but Dominguez – who does not have currently have a scheduled court date – is not eligible for bail.