Suspects appear in court after 290-pound meth bust near Modesto

pguerra@modbee.comMay 8, 2013 

— Two men arrested in a massive methamphetamine bust appeared in court Wednesday afternoon, as authorities said they hope the seizure will put a dent in the Modesto area's drug trade.

Tuesday, officers arrested Victor Ramiro Torres, 23, of Ceres and Luis Bartolo Madriz-Sandoval, 32, of Everett, Wash., near a Ceres home where they found 290 pounds of meth and $66,000 in cash. The two were booked at the Stanislaus County Jail on felony charges of possession of methamphetamine for sale and transportation of methamphetamine.

Records show that bail for Torres is set at $500,000, although he has a no-bail immigration hold.

During their arraignment Wednesday, Judge Susan Siefkin set bail for Madriz-Sandoval at $180,000. Siefkin entered pleas of not guilty for the men, who will return to court next week.

Modesto police Sgt. Brian Findlen said the arrests, the result of an investigation after an anonymous tip, will have a major impact.

"It's clear these are large-scale drug dealers," Findlen said. "We're certain it's going to disturb, if not cripple, the distribution of meth in this area in the short term and hopefully in the long term."

Agents with the Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency, the Modesto Narcotics Enforcement Team and Homeland Security Investigations served a search warrant at a home on Hardy Court in Ceres on Tuesday afternoon and found the drugs and money.

The home is in a neighborhood of well-kept homes and duplexes just a few blocks from Don Pedro Elementary School.

The going price for meth is $9,000 per pound, making the 290 pounds confiscated Tuesday worth roughly $2.6 million.

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