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Two charged with Stevinson murder
Emilio Virgen

The Merced County Sheriff’s Department has arrested two men for the murder of a Stevinson man, in what authorities described as a drug robbery.

Investigators took Frankie Lon Hicks, 21, and Emilio Virgen, 18, both from Crows Landing into custody Thursday on homicide charges for the Feb. 26 death of 37-year-old Casey Desalles.

Desalles was shot multiple times at his home in the 19000 block of Sixth Avenue in Stevinson.

Hicks and Virgen have both allegedly admitted to shooting Desalles during a robbery, according to the sheriff’s department.

“Both Hicks and Virgen have confessed to their involvement in the crime” said sheriff spokesman Deputy Delray Shelton.

The Desalles property was previously known by investigators as a marijuana cultivation site and during the crime scene investigation marijuana was found at various spots on the property, said Shelton.

The two men allegedly told the investigators they went to the home to rob Desalles of his marijuana and shot him multiple times inside his home, along with a small family dog.

Desalles was found dead at his home by a visiting friend.

Through some investigative leads, detectives were able to identify Hicks and Virgen as the likely suspects. Search warrants were served at their Crows Landing residences, but the sheriff’s department did not say what if anything was seized during the search.

Both men remain in custody in the Merced County Jail. Bail was set at $2 million for Hicks and $1 million for Virgen.