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During traffic stop, officer's K-9 finds more than 90 grams of meth in car

What started as a routine traffic stop on a motorist for driving without his headlights on morphed into a bigger arrest where more than 90 grams of methamphetamine were discovered along with a double-barreled shotgun and a loaded handgun.

Officer Jobe Sandhagen of the Merced Police Department's Gang Violence Suppression Unit said Gustavo Daniel Garcia, 21, of Merced was arrested on 13 charges following the 6 p.m. traffic stop Wednesday at Childs Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

Sandhagen said 28.8 grams of crystal methamphetamine were found in Garcia's pockets.

Officers found seven small bags of meth in the center console of the Honda Accord four-door sedan Garcia was driving, along with five more in the driver's door pocket and two under the driver's seat.

Sandhagen's K-9, Jamie, alerted officers to the drugs in the interior, along with a hollowed-out soda can containing 56.5 grams in the vehicle's trunk. A shotgun, scales, packaging materials and drug paraphernalia also were discovered. The drugs are valued at $2,600 to $3,000 on the street.

Garcia was arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession of dangerous drugs for sale, transportation of dangerous drugs, possession of a loaded handgun, possession of a concealed weapon with drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, and two warrants. He was booked into Merced County Jail where he remained Thursday night in lieu of $124,796 bail.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at 209- 385-2485 or