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October 2, 2013

Not-guilty plea entered in Winton meth case

A registered sex offender from Winton pleaded not guilty Wednesday to selling methamphetamine near an elementary school.

A registered sex offender from Winton pleaded not guilty Wednesday to selling methamphetamine near an elementary school.

A public defender entered not-guilty pleas on behalf of Jose Manuel Aguilera before Merced Superior Court Judge Marc A. Garcia. Wearing jail clothes and shackles, Aguilera, 57, listened to the judge with the help of a Spanish translator Wednesday morning but did not speak.

Aguilera was arrested Sept.19 following a weeklong investigation by the Sheriff’s Tactical and Reconnaissance Team. Deputies seized more than 6ounces of suspected methamphetamine from Aguilera’s home in the 6900 block of California Street, less than 1,000 feet from Winton Elementary School, authorities said.

The judge ordered Aguilera to return to court Monday for further proceedings. Aguilera remains in custody at the Merced County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail.

According to the state Justice Department’s Megan’s Law website, Aguilera was previously convicted of annoying or molesting a child and is a registered sex offender. The exact date and jurisdiction of his conviction have not been disclosed.

According to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Aguilera has never served time in state prison.

Merced court records show Aguilera has a long criminal history dating back to the early 1990s, with convictions ranging from traffic violations to drunken driving, solicitation, weapons possession and assault.

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