Five arrested after Turlock drug deal goes bad

November 10, 2011 

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Image of police badge superimposed of yellow "Police line" tape and image of a car. (MCT)


— Five people were arrested and a large amount of packaged marijuana was confiscated after shots were fired during an alleged drug deal that went bad on Alaska Street, Turlock police reported Thursday.

Police were dispatched to the area to investigate reports of shots being fired about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday and they spotted two vehicles trying to flee at high rates of speed.

A Toyota Landcruiser was stopped and the three occupants were detained, police said. Officers found 15 pounds of packaged marijuana. One of the occupants, Simon White, 23, of Turlock had an injury to his head. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was treated and released.

A second vehicle, a Chevrolet pickup, was pursued by police but managed to evade officers. It was located a short time later in a field after it crashed, police said.

Inside the pickup, officers found 55 pounds of packaged marijuana and three guns. Police couldn’t locate the driver.

After further investigation, police arrested the men who had been in the Toyota: White, Travis Smith, 22, and Mendoza Nava, 22, all of Turlock. They were all arrested and charged with possession of marijuana for sales and transportation for sales, police said.

The registered owner of the pickup, Carlos Arnoldo Espinoza-Lopez, 21, of Turlock was arrested for investigation of robbery, possession of marijuana for sales and assault with a deadly weapon. Anthony Rodriguez, 20, of Turlock also was arrested on the same charges.

The investigation is continuing. Turlock police are asking anyone with information about the incident to contact Detective Brandon Bertram at (209) 664-7323 or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 and may be eligible to for a cash reward.

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