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Fugitive caught same day picture appears

The same day Manuel Garcia Alarcon's picture appeared in the Sun-Star as "Merced County's Most Wanted" the 44-year-old parolee at large was behind bars again. Another wanted fugitive also was caught Wednesday in a separate incident.

Deputy Kevin Blake, a member of the Merced County Sheriff's Department Special Tactics and Reconnaissance team, said Alarcon was arrested about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday while he was sleeping in a makeshift shed next to a house in the 6900 block of Cottage Avenue in Winton.

Blake said Alarcon had been sought by authorities for parole violation for about a month.

Alarcon and two of his brothers were discovered in the improvised shelter made of plywood and blankets. Deputies found a large hunting knife on Alarcon, an added parole violation.

Alarcon's brother Juan, 51, also was arrested on two warrants for $100,000 for trespassing on railroad property and contempt of court. He was released from jail on his own recognizance.

Blake said four STAR team officers and parole agent Craig Donahoe made the 7:30 a.m. arrests.

Manuel Alarcon remains in jail on a no-bail parole hold.

Antonio Soto, 22, of Merced was arrested by the STAR team about 11 a.m. Wednesday at a house in the 200 block of West 27th Street. An active Norteno criminal street gang member, Soto was found hiding in a closet, resisted arrest and had to be subdued with a Taser, Blake said.

Soto was jailed on a $10,000 warrant for misdemeanor hit-and-run driving and violation of a court order and a $50,000 felony warrant for false imprisonment, making criminal threats, and domestic battery. He had been sought for about a year, Blake said.

Soto remained in Merced County Jail in lieu of $62,000 bail, according to a correctional official.

Blake said Lydia McCoy, 21, of Merced was arrested on a charge of harboring a fugitive. She remains jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail, according to a correctional official.

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