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Planada man arrested after detective finds hypodermic needles

A Planada man was arrested Wednesday night after a Merced Sheriff's detective found 100 hypodermic needles and aluminum valves used for irrigation.

Stewart McDowell, 39, was arrested after a routine vehicle stop in Planada by Detective Brandon Thomas of the Merced County Sheriff’s Office AG STAR Team. The detective found the hypodermic needles and irrigation valves, which are commonly stolen and sold for scrap metal, according to the sheriff’s department.

McDowell told Thomas that the valves belonged to his father, but he wasn’t able to give accurate details about where he obtained them, the sheriff's department said. An investigation is pending.