Task force's investigation leads to man's arrest

April 22, 2010 

A 33-year-old Merced man was arrested on suspicion of possessing illegal drugs, after agents with the Merced Multi-Agency Narcotics Task Force reported finding drugs valued at $9,500 in his home.

Faustino Mendoza was taken into custody around 4 p.m. Monday after agents served a search warrant at his 105 Cone Ave. home in Merced, according to Cmdr. Neil Compston. After serving the warrant, agents discovered 207 grams of crystal methamphetamine and 2 ounces of high grade marijuana, Compston said.

Compston said a loaded .38 caliber handgun and $9,273 in cash was also found inside the house. The methamphetamine found inside the house was valued at $8,700, while the marijuana was valued at $800.

Compston said the search warrant wound up a three-month investigation into Mendoza's activities.

Agents believe Mendoza is a midlevel drug dealer who was selling up to $400 worth of meth a day.

Mendoza is also accused of being a supplier of low-level drug dealers in the areas of Merced, Atwater and Winton.

An illegal immigrant, Mendoza is a convicted felon who's previously been deported.

He was taken into custody without incident and booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of possessing and selling illegal drugs. He's being held without bail.

Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsun-star.com

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