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Police make additional marijuana arrests
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The Ceres Police Department Street Crimes Unit (SCU) continued last week to combat its assault on illegal marijuana grows in the Ceres area.

The unit served a search warrant in the 3100 block of Sanko Avenue on Monday, Oct. 10, which resulted in the discovery of an illegal outdoor marijuana grow with over 56 large mature plants. The grow had the potential of producing over 200 pounds of processed marijuana, worth over $400,000.

Police executed the warrant at 2:55 p.m. and arrested: Calixto Betancourt 46, and Eber Betancourt, 24, both of Ceres, and Luis Mendoza, 23, and Jesus Martinez, 23, both of Modesto. Police said most of the suspects were illegal aliens.

Hours later, at approximately 6:22 p.m., the SCU along with the Ceres SWAT Team, served a separate, unrelated search warrant in the 1100 block of Glenn Avenue in south Modesto. There investigators discovered a small outdoor marijuana grow with over 40 pounds of processed marijuana and a small amount of methamphetamine. Investigators found evidence of drug sales and recovered two firearms. Emmanuel Mata, 27, and Vicente Bazan, 52, both of Modesto, were arrested and charged with illegally cultivating marijuana and illegal possession of firearms.

On Oct. 11 at approximately 9 a.m., the SCU and Ceres SWAT teams served a search warrant in the 900 block of Mock Avenue in Modesto. While officers surrounded the residence to serve the warrant, Rosa Perez, 22, ran out of the home and threw a loaded firearm onto the roof of the house. The search revealed evidence of marijuana sales. Perez was arrested for a variety of charges.

Investigators would not elaborate further on these cases. They are separate, individual, ongoing investigations and detectives are encouraging anyone with any information in reference to these cases to contact the Stanislaus Area Crime Stoppers at Stanislaus Area Crime Stoppers, 1 (866) 60-CRIME; or send text tips to "274637" with TIP704 in the wording; or call Sgt. Dennis Perry at (209) 538-5638.

The Street Crimes Unit was established after Ceres voters approved Measure H, a half-cent sales tax increase specifically for improving public safety services, in November of 2008. The Street Crimes Unit is funded by Measure H revenues and consists of three police officers and one sergeant.