Police investigating meth lab found at a home in Atwater

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The Merced Police discovered several pounds of meth, paraphernalia, and more inside a car across the street from a house that turned out to be a meth lab. (KFSN)

The Merced Gang and Narcotics task force discovered several pounds of meth, paraphernalia, and more inside a car in Atwater across the street from a house that turned out to be a meth lab.

"I am totally shocked. I would never have guessed just down our street that something like this is happening," said Jacqueline Stringer, neighbor.

Stringer is a neighbor who lives close by she said she see's kids walking by this street all the time. So to see this happen is frightening.

"We let our kids play. We just got rollerblades for our daughter and she goes down this street. Something could've happened without us knowing. It is very scary for us."

Police arrested 34-year-old Elvis Espino Rodriguez.

Atwater's acting Police Chief Samuel Joseph said it started when the Merced Gang and nArcotic Enforcement Task Force pulled over a car near Stevenson.

"They located methamphétamine and other items."

The task force then served a search warrant at a home where they said they found paraphernalia in a bedroom and several thermal jugs with meth inside of the garage. Police said it didn't stop there-- in the Jeep parked across the street, two more thermal jugs with meth and two duffel bags filled with pounds of finished product.

"We've been seeing a big increase in meth type arrests lately since possession of simple meth is a misdemeanor crime now," said Joseph.

An elementary school is close to the scene, Joseph said he called Bellvue School to let them know the students were not at risk.

Inside the home, police said there were three other residents along with a four-year-old child.

"You don't know what's going on behind closed doors," said Stringer.

Neighbors like Stringer said they often saw a lot of cars near the home, and they often kept to themselves. Stringer said now, she's going to make sure when her kids play outside they stay close.

"Even if we didn't know them, it's still shocking to us."

The investigation is ongoing and the task force does plan to file charges with the district attorney either on Thursday or Friday.
Related Topics:
newsmethmethamphetaminedrug bustmerced countyAtwater
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