A group of law enforcement agencies teamed up Wednesday for a probation sweep that resulted in 16 arrests.
Teams made up of members from the Merced County Probation Department, the Merced County sheriff's patrol division, the sheriff's corrections division, the Merced Police Department and the Atwater Police Department went to 49 houses during the operation that lasted from 3 p.m. to midnight.
Seven people were arrested on suspicion of violation of probation, said Jeff Kettering, assistant chief probation officer for the probation department.
One registered sex offender -- David Martinez -- was arrested for allegedly violating his probation by watching pornography and drinking alcohol, three were arrested for positive drug tests, two were arrested on violations of gang conditions and another was arrested for drinking alcohol, Kettering said.
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Others were arrested for felony warrants, new criminal charges, and drugs and weapons charges, he said.
The operation focused on those supervised by the probation department under the Assembly Bill 109 prison realignment, which shifted state inmates to the county level, Kettering said.
Not all of those arrested in the sweep were booked into jail; some were given citations.
Though it's not yet known how long each suspect might spend in jail because of the overcrowding issue, Kettering said even a short stint can be a successful way to deter future crimes.
"The research shows that a month in jail doesn't really have a more positive effect than a week in jail," Kettering noted.
Deputy Tom MacKenzie, sheriff’s spokesman, said sweeps such as the one Wednesday are in the best interest of all public safety entities throughout the county.
"It's good that allied law enforcement agencies can come together and let the criminal element know that we're going to follow through with constant checks on parolees and probationers," he said.
The bulk of Wednesday's sweep happened around Merced, Planada and Le Grand.
Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2454 or firstname.lastname@example.org.