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Tip leads to nine arrests at apartment near Sheehy School

Seven people were arrested Saturday night on drug charges at an apartment and house about a block away from Sheehy Elementary School in South Merced.

Officer Joe Henderson of the Merced Police Department's Gang Violence Suppression Unit said 14 officers served a search warrant at an apartment about 6 p.m. at 1128 W. 4th St. and a home at 1133 W. 4th St., after receiving an anonymous tip about drug activity.

A very high volume of drug traffic was observed during surveillance at the apartment complex over a week's time, starting about 4 p.m. most days and running into the evening. During that time there were many young children at the apartment, sharing a common pathway with people visiting the apartments to buy drugs, Henderson said.

"It was good to get that cleaned up, especially in such close proximity to that school. Several neighbors came up to me and expressed their appreciation to us," Henderson said. Residents' complaints to apartment management had gone unheeded. Those observing drug activity should call the gang unit or the department's anonymous tipster line, he added.

Henderson said a half-ounce of methamphetamine was recovered at the apartment, along with syringes, scales, 10 Ecstasy tablets and narcotics paraphernalia. At the house across the street, officers found 5 ½ grams of marijuana and a syringe loaded with a clear liquid believed to be crystal meth. Some marijuana had been flushed down the toilet.

Stephanie Fury, 40, of Merced, was arrested on charges of sales of a controlled substance in a school zone, possession of methamphetamine, maintaining a house where drugs are used or sold and possession of narcotics paraphernalia. She remained in Merced County Jail Sunday night in lieu of $47,000 bail, according to a correctional official.

Henderson said Adrian Torres, 19, a validated Norteno criminal street gang member, was arrested on charges of sales of a controlled substance in a school zone, possession of meth, being in a place where drugs are used or sold and a gang enhancement. He remained in Merced County Jail Sunday night in lieu of $75,250 bail.

Carol Mucino, 38, of Merced was arrested on charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, possession of narcotics paraphernalia and being in a place where narcotics are used or sold. She remained jailed Sunday night in lieu of $30,350 bail. Four others were cited for less-serious infractions.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger

can be reached at 209-385-2485 or dyawger@mercedsun-star.com.

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