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Public squabble leads to Ballico meth lab

POSTED January 12, 2010 9:17 p.m.
Three Ballico residents were taken into custody Sunday afternoon by the Merced County Sheriff’s Department on various charges stemming from the discovery of a methamphetamine lab.
The lab in the 11000 block of Santa Fe Road was discovered after sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of two men arguing in a driveway.
As the deputies arrived at the scene, one of the men, Tryfon Lolonis, 55, took off running, sheriff spokesman deputy Tom MacKenzie said.
The deputies chased Lolonis a short distance into the backyard of the residence and took him into custody. A search of the area turned up a .380-caliber semi automatic handgun and an ounce of methamphetamine in a garbage can next to where Lolonis was taken into custody, MacKenzie said. The serial numbers on the gun had been filed off.
Lolonis was booked into the Merced County Jail on a charge of being a convicted felon in possession of a weapon. He remains in custody on $50,000 bail.
After obtaining the owner’s permission, a search of the house was conducted and inside deputies located approximately one pound of marijuana and a tub of solution they believed to be associated with manufacturing methamphetamine, MacKenzie said.
Detectives Jason Cope and Clint Landrum of the Merced/Mariposa High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force responded to the scene and began processing the lab material. Detectives believe that there were several ounces of methamphetamine in solution that was being converting into “crystal meth.”
One resident, Darren Miguel, 22, was taken into custody for manufacturing methamphetamine, child endangerment and possession for sale of meth and remains in jail on $530,000 bail.
A woman living at the residence with Miguel, Stevie Wills, 20, was also taken into custody for child endangerment. Her 6-month-old daughter was living in the same small quarters with the conversion lab, MacKenzie said. The child has been turned over to Child Protective Services and Wills is in custody on a $10,000 bail.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.
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