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Man 'acting odd' taken into custody

ATWATER — A Merced man who was seen hugging a memorial dedicated to fallen officers was arrested in front of the California Highway Patrol's Merced area office on suspicion of drug-related offenses Sunday night.

Atwater police were dispatched to the CHP office at Bell Road and Applegate Drive at 10:40 p.m. about a subject who was "acting a bit odd," Detective Armando Echevarria said.

When police officers arrived at the scene, they found the man hugging the granite memorial in front of the CHP office, Echevarria said.

The man, Richard Pierce, 24, of Merced, consented to a search. Officers found hypodermic needles, Echevarria said. Pierce was booked on suspicion of possessing drug paraphernalia.

Before Pierce was booked at the Merced County Jail, he was searched again. Officers found a small bag containing close to 7 grams of methamphetamine in Pierce's sock.

Pierce was also booked on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance.

— Samuel Cosby