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Man wanted in Merced County meth investigation arrested in Tennessee

A man wanted in connection with a 2008 meth bust involving a UC Merced graduate student was arrested Tuesday in Tennessee.

The Merced County Sheriff's Department said that Francis Edward Womack, 50, of Merced, was found Tuesday at a home in the 100 block of Cedwarwood Drive in Nashville, Tenn. He will be extradited to California to stand trial for charges of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and violating parole.

He is the last suspect wanted in the case of UC Merced chemistry student Jason West, who was arrested in August for allegedly stealing lab equipment and manufacturing meth.

Investigators believe the equipment was stolen by West, but was being stored by Womack. Investigators reported that West was trying to produce a variety of meth that didn't require ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, two of the chemicals typically used to make it.

The two compounds can be hard for meth producers to get in large amounts because of federal controls on the drugs. Lawyers for both sides later downplayed the allegations that West was trying to create a new form of methamphetamine.

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