Atwater police jail Winton man found with prepackaged meth

Atwater police arrested a 19-year-old Winton man Thursday night after hearing an explosion in an area that’s been the target of several recent thefts.

Officer Patrick Radke heard an explosion near St. Anthony’s Catholic Church about 9:30 p.m. While checking the area near Bellevue Road and Gipson Street, he found a car traveling near the canal bank behind a residential area where many thefts occurred recently. There was no evidence the car was linked to the noise, police Chief Samuel Joseph said in a news release.

The exact nature of the noise remained unclear.

The driver of the vehicle didn’t turn on the headlights when reaching the road. Radke stopped the car and found the driver, identified by authorities as Sergio Israel Castaneda, didn’t have a license. Radke detained Castaneda and searched the car, where he found 20 separately packaged bundles of crystal methamphetamine, Joseph said.

Castaneda was arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine for sale and was booked into the Merced County jail, where he remained Friday on $20,000 bail.

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