Deputy arrests woman in Winton for meth possession and transportation

The Merced County Sheriff’s Department arrested a woman in Winton for possession for sale and transportation of methamphetamine.

On Tuesday at 9:50 p.m., Deputy Ray Anaya was on patrol when he noticed a vehicle parked on the side of the road at Sunset Avenue and Hull Road in Winton. Believing the vehicle abandoned or stolen, he went to check on it, according to Deputy Tom MacKenzie.

When he illuminated it with his spotlight, someone got out of the driver’s side door. After Anaya made contact with the occupants, the driver said he was lost and trying to use his cell phone mapping service to find the freeway, even though Anaya said he could see the freeway from where they were parked.

Anaya checked the 42-year-old driver from Atwater for warrants, but he came back clear. His passenger however, Linda Rhinehart, 39, of Atwater had a felony warrant for Welfares and Institutions code violating food stamp laws.

When Anaya asked her to step out of the vehicle, he noticed a bindle of what appeared to be methamphetamine in the door pocket where she was sitting, MacKenzie said. After taking her into custody, Rhinehart was booked for the warrant, also for possession for sale and transportation of methamphetamine. Anaya also found a small digital scale commonly used to weigh meth for sale, according to MacKenzie.

The driver claimed no knowledge of the drugs and Anaya let he go without any evidence tying him to the narcotics. Rhinehart remains in custody on $45,000 bail.