Drug sweep included buy in Modesto toy store parking lot

local@modbee.comApril 26, 2013 

— An undercover operation that resulted in the arrest of 55 people in San Joaquin County included a drug buy of 2 pounds of meth in the parking lot of a Modesto toy store.

Federal and local law enforcement officials had a news conference Tuesday in Stockton to announce the results of what they called Operation Gideon IV. They said they seized 84 firearms, as well as 36 pounds of methamphetamine, 21 pounds of marijuana, 100 grams of heroin and 55 grams of crack cocaine.

Those arrested as part of Operation Gideon IV had a total of 459 prior arrests and 98 felony convictions, and face a variety of firearms, narcotics and robbery charges, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner told The Record newspaper of Stockton.

A federal indictment against two men, Daniel Covarrubias and Jaime Rangel, alleges the two conducted sales of methamphetamine out of a home in Ripon. Undercover agents arranged drug buys starting at 2 ounces and worked up to 2 pounds. The final buy took place in the parking lot of Toys R Us on Sisk Road in Modesto.

The operation is similar to recent crackdowns in Oakland, Phoenix and San Diego, and authorities Tuesday said they hope the arrests will lead to a reduction in crime in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

Federal and local authorities conducted a raid in a two-day sweep in Stanislaus County last month. They arrested 13 people in Modesto, Turlock, Ceres and Hilmar suspected of ties to a Northern California gang.

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