Seven suspects arrested in connection with theft ring, felony crimes, authorities say

The Merced County Sheriff’s Office said it arrested seven people Saturday in connection with a westside theft ring and other felony crimes.

Authorities said detectives, with the assistance of the Sheriff’s Office STAR Team, arrested Santa Nella residents Efrain Jimenez Sr., 48, Efrain Jimenez Jr., 19, Ricardo Jimenez, 26, Damian Blanco, 19, Andrew May, 24, Katelyn Anthenien, 29, and James Ryan, 20, on suspicion of charges including, but not limited to felony assault, burglary, arson and possession of stolen property.

The Sheriff’s Office said the arrests came after it spent several months investigating numerous thefts and other related crimes that occurred on the westside of Merced County, specifically the area of Santa Nella.

During the investigation, detectives assigned to the Jess Bowling Station, were led to the Santa Nella Trailer Park located in the 13000 block of South Highway 33. The Sheriff’s Office said lead Detectives Daniel Ramirez and Brandon Soto received information that a large amount of stolen property taken from areas on the westside of the county had either ended up in or was being sold from the trailer park.

The Sheriff’s Office said it also learned of other crimes committed in the trailer park, most of which were not reported due to fear of retaliation by the perpetrators, according to the news release.

Detectives are continuing to work the cases following the arrests to ensure all victims are identified and represented in the judicial process, according to the news release.

Anyone with information about recent criminal activity in the Santa Nella area is urged to call Detective Ramirez at 209-710-6005 or Detective Soto at 209-710-6006. Authorities said residents of the Santa Nella area are encouraged to come forward with any information they have.