Major Meth Bust in the North Valley - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Major Meth Bust in the North Valley

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By Nicole Garcia and Winston Whitehurst

Turlock - A major drug bust in the North Valley nets millions of dollars.

Large amounts of methamphetamine and cocaine were discovered in a house in Turlock.

The Merced County Sheriff's Department received a tip about a possible meth lab at a house in near Golf Link and Greenway in Turlock.

Investigators found meth and a lot more.

Valley drug officials wore protective gear, as they took out at least a dozen packages of crystal meth from a home.

Each package weighed about two pounds, and was worth about $20,000 each.

"30 pounds of methamphetamine, several thousands of cash, and weapons, it's a very significant arrest," said Tom Mackenzie, with the Merced County Sheriff's Department.

"The crystallized stuff was very clean, very well made as far as methamphetamine goes, which means, high dollar value," said Mackenzie.

They also found six pounds of cocaine... each block worth about $17,000.

Officials estimate, the combined value of the meth and cocaine found Tuesday is worth between $700,000 to $1,000,000.

Also discovered, thousands of dollars in cash, in 20, 50, and 100-dollar bills.

Investigators also recovered a loaded gun.

The bust wasn't a street level operation; undercover agents say this house may have been used as a large scale distribution and conversion center.

"This is actually not what you'd consider a lab where they're cooking meth, they're converting powder meth into crystal meth... it's very large scale, it's the largest I've ever been part of," said an undercover agent who could not be identified.

Two suspects, 38-year-old Heriberto Avalos, and 53-year-old Jose Alfredo Talavera, were taken into custody at the scene.

While this drug bust ranks up there as one of the larger ones, deputies say, it probably won't be the last big meth bust, any time soon.

"Even though we've made more arrests, made more busts, the problem is actually getting larger.  In the last two years we've finished first in lab-related incidences in the state of California," said Mackenzie.

Mackenzie says last month alone, they found ten meth lab dumps in Merced County.

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