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August 5, 2014

Deputies suspect drug link in Hilmar homicide

A shooting last week in Hilmar that left one man dead may be drug related, the Merced County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday.

A shooting last week in Hilmar that left one man dead may be drug related, the Merced County Sheriff’s Department told the Merced Sun-Star on Tuesday.

The victim, a 21-year-old man, was found shot dead about 12:45 a.m. Friday in a home in the 7800 block of Kates Court in Hilmar. Deputies found the victim after receiving reports of shots fired in the area, Deputy Delray Shelton confirmed.

“Details continue to emerge as this investigation progresses, but we are confident this incident was not gang related,” Shelton said in an interview.

The victim’s name has not been released. The Merced County Corner’s Office said Tuesday they were working to notify the man’s family.

No other injuries were reported and no arrests have been made.

Deputies said the incident may be related to “the drug distribution trade.” Detectives declined to elaborate on possible motives or release certain details of the attack, saying releasing specifics could harm the ongoing investigation.

Deputies said it was still too early to know whether there may be ties to any higher-level trafficking organizations or cartel involvement. “We believe multiple people were involved as suspects in this incident,” Shelton said.

No suspect descriptions have been released. The death marks the 18th homicide of 2014 in Merced County. “We’re still hoping that anyone from the public who has information will come forward,” Shelton said.

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