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100 lbs. of meth seized

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Posted: Sunday, December 17, 2006 10:00 pm

State and county investigators serving search warrants in Lodi and Modesto seized 100 pounds of methamphetamine, most of it in Lodi, and arrested five men Friday.

If sold on the street, the illegal drugs would have a value of more than $3.6 million, according to California's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.

After a monthlong investigation, agents from several narcotic task forces spent Friday serving warrants and taking the drugs into evidence.

In Lodi, they searched homes on Eden Street, South Sacramento Street and Felino Lane, located near Harney Lane just west of Highway 99. They also searched a building on Marin Avenue in Modesto, according to information released Saturday by the narcotic bureau.

Five men, whose addresses were not immediately available, were identified as: Miguel Angel Ruiz-Bravo, 36; Omar Ruiz-Bravo, 36; Jose Antonio Tinoco, 26; Rogelio Quevas Arias, 28; and Oswaldo Zaragozza Villifan, 30. Each is accused of conspiracy, possession of a controlled substance for sale, and transporting or selling a controlled substance.

They were booked into the Sacramento County Jail on $1 million bail each for the drug allegations, but jail records show that bail is not allowed under a state provision that allows a judge to hold a suspect in order to protect the public.

Jail records also show different spellings and aliases for some of the men. Miguel Ruiz-Bravo is also wanted on a separate federal offense, though further information on that case was not available. All are scheduled to be arraigned in court Tuesday.

The investigation was conducted by the state narcotic bureau and Department of Justice, as well as San Joaquin Metro Task Force, Yolo County Narcotic Enforcement Team, Yuba/Sutter Narcotic Enforcement Team and the California Highway Patrol.

Further information, including where the methamphetamine may have been manufactured and what led to the investigation, was not available by Sunday.

Methamphetamine causes users to stay awake for hours and sometimes days on end, and can cause aggressiveness, paranoia, hallucinations and permanent physical damage, according to the National Institutes of Health. Law enforcement officers often link it to crime, citing a combination of addicts' wakefulness, paranoia and the need to find money in order to buy more methamphetamine.

Contact reporter Layla Bohm at layla@lodinews.com.

First published: Monday, December 18, 2006

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