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Investigators haul in drugs, suspects in two busts

POSTED December 10, 2010 11:51 p.m.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department and the Modesto Police Department made two separate drug busts Wednesday that resulted in the seizure of approximately four pounds of various narcotics.

The Modesto Police Department arrested a suspected drug dealer and confiscated 1.9 pounds of heroin with an estimated street value of $88,000 during their bust, while the sheriff’s department seized two pounds of crystal methamphetamine hidden in a secret compartment of a vehicle. The methamphetamine has an approximate street value of $32,000, according to the sheriff’s department.

On Wednesday, investigators from the Modesto Narcotic Enforcement Team served a search warrant in the 1700 block of Napa Court, in South Modesto.

Investigators had been working an ongoing drug case on a suspected drug dealer who has been selling heroin and officers were able to develop enough information to obtain a search warrant for the suspect’s residence, said police spokesman Sgt. Rick Armendariz. Once inside the residence, officers discovered a large stash of heroin, a half an ounce of cocaine, approximately $700 dollars in cash, and a loaded handgun. 

Miguel Marquez Rodriguez, a 44-year-old Modesto resident and Luz Manzorico, a 22-year-old Mexican national, were arrested inside the home.  Rodriguez had been suspected of trafficking heroin and evidence located at the residence supports his involvement in drug sales, Armendariz said.Rodriguez was arrested for possession for sales of illegal drugs, possessing a loaded handgun in the commission of a felony, and conspiracy. 

Manzorico was arrested for possession for sales of illegal drugs, possessing a loaded handgun in the commission of a felony, and conspiracy.  In addition, Manzorico was placed on an immigration hold by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents.

The sheriff’s department made their bust Wednesday afternoon in the area of Olivero and Crows Landing roads. The deputies were called to the area, which was the site of a recent homicide, because of a large gathering of people and as the deputies arrived in the area, people began to suspiciously evacuate the area, said sheriff spokesman Deputy Luke Schwartz.

A K-9 was brought to the area to help evaluate more than 20 parked vehicles in and around the area for any contraband. The canine was able to alert on one vehicle in particular, which prompted investigators to obtain a search warrant in order to thoroughly search and process the car, Schwartz said. A hidden compartment was eventually located in the car, and approximately two pounds of a substance preliminarily testing positive for crystal methamphetamine was located within.   

Nobody in the area questioned by law enforcement would claim ownership of the vehicle or the narcotics, therefore the drugs were seized, the car was towed and stored, and the investigation remains open, Schwartz said.

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact Narcotics Agents at 558-6300.  Callers can also leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Tipsters can also e-mail tips at http://www.modestopolice.com/CrimeStoppers, or text them to CRIMES (274637) by typing "Tip704" plus the message and be eligible for a cash reward.      To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.  
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