“This is an example of the kinds of, and the amount of, drugs being transported through California on our roadways. This illegal activity puts law enforcement officers and civilians in harm’s way. We must continue with our efforts to stop drug traffickers in order for our communities to be safe places to live and work in.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
MERCED — On May 3, 2023, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the seizure of 40 pounds of fentanyl and 104 pounds of methamphetamine, as well as the arrest of seven suspects, in two separate cases in the County of Merced.
The seizures are a result of two separate CHP traffic enforcement stops that were turned over for further investigation to the Merced Area Gang and Narcotic Enforcement Team (MAGNET), a California Department of Justice, Bureau of Investigation led task force.
On April 25, 2023, a K-9 officer from the CHP’s Central Division conducted an enforcement stop on a vehicle in Merced County. During the contact, a canine was deployed and gave a positive alert to the odor of narcotics. Approximately 104 pounds of methamphetamine and 25 pounds of fentanyl were located inside the vehicle. Investigators with MAGNET responded to the scene and assumed lead of the investigation. The driver and three passengers within the vehicle were taken into custody without incident and booked into the Merced County Jail on the charges of possession of methamphetamine for sale, transportation of methamphetamine across noncontiguous counties, possession of fentanyl for sale, and transportation of fentanyl across noncontiguous counties.
On April 27, 2023, a K-9 officer from the CHP’s Central Division conducted an enforcement stop on a vehicle in Merced County. During the contact, the CHP officer conducted a consent search of the vehicle. Fifteen pounds of fentanyl was located in the rear passenger floorboard. As investigators with MAGNET were enroute to assume lead of the investigation, the driver fled on foot into the foothills. The Merced County Sheriff's Office air unit assisted CHP and MAGNET with locating the driver in the foothills where he was taken into custody. The driver and two passengers were arrested and booked into the Merced County Jail on charges of possession of fentanyl for sale, and transportation of fentanyl across noncontiguous counties.
The Merced Area Gang and Narcotic Enforcement Team (MAGNET) is a California Department of Justice, Bureau of Investigation led multiagency task force, federally funded through the national High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. It is comprised of members from the California Department of Justice, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation-Special Services Unit, Merced County Sheriff's Office, Merced Police Department, Merced County Probation Department, Merced County District Attorney's Office, Los Banos Police Department, Livingston Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Drug Enforcement Administration and Federal Bureau of Investigation.