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Weapons confiscated during jail raid

POSTED August 23, 2011 9:22 p.m.

Tactical teams swept through the John Latorraca Jail in Merced on Saturday after receiving information that gang members were stockpiling weapons in preparation for a fight.

After the sweep, several razor blades and “shivs” were found inside the dorms hidden in the common areas, Merced County Sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie said.

Any inmates who refused to obey commands or actively resisted during the raid were subdued with less lethal ammunition. Several rounds of rubber pellets and pepper balls were deployed but no inmate suffered any serious injury, MacKenzie said.

The sweep was due in part to a recent upswing in gang problems inside the jail, as well as one gang being on a “hunger strike” to protest being housed at that facility, MacKenzie said.  The hunger strike has been going on for a couple of weeks, however, no inmates have suffered any ill effects from the self-imposed strike and several food contraband items were located inside the dorms.

No charges will be filed against the inmates for the weapons since they were found in the common area and could not be pinned down to any one individual, MacKenzie said.

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