On Wednesday, June 27th, 2018, the Merced Police Department’s Disruptive Area Response Team (DART) officers responded to a Craigslist advertisement selling illegal fireworks. DART officers met with Christopher Hamby at The Home Depot  parking lot in the city of Merced. Officers arrested Christopher Hamby (22) of Turlock, Ca.

Hamby was arrested for selling illegal fireworks, possession of illegal fireworks and advertisement of illegal fireworks. Hamby was booked at the Merced County Jail.

Merced Police are asking anyone with any information regarding this crime to contact Sgt. Solis at (209) 385-4703 or the Merced PD Tipster Line at (209) 385-4725. The public can send information via anonymous text messages to police department by dialing “TIP411” (847411) and including the word “Comvip” as the “keyword” in the text message.


On June 22, 2018 the Merced County Sheriff’s Office conducted three marijuana investigations in regards to illegal marijuana grows throughout Merced County. Two of the investigations were noticed by Sheriff Vern Warnke who utilized the use of the Merced County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit helicopter. Sheriff Warnke spotted the suspected marijuana grows from the air and took several photographs of the properties which assisted deputies who completed these investigations. The collaboration between the Sheriff, Aviation Unit, Detective Bureau and deputies lead to many successful operations each week.

Based on pictures, you can clearly see the marijuana plants were found spaced evenly and planted in the same manner seen at more several grow sites this year. Often times subjects involved in the illegal cultivation, packaging and distribution of marijuana commonly attempt to conceal their growing operation(s) to avoid detection from law enforcement. Residential marijuana gardens are typically concealed by plastic, tarps and camouflage netting; makeshift fencing and false walls on the property. This concealment method is also an attempt to prevent other subject(s) from committing acts of violence in an attempt to steal the marijuana plants.

During the three marijuana investigations completed today, two subjects were arrested during investigation for the violations of H&S 11358 and MMC 9.29.060.

Deputies confiscated more than 250 pounds of dried and processed marijuana and eradicated 150 outdoor plants from the large greenhouses, and took custody of several firearms.

CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 64 INFORMATION YOU NEED TO KNOW: On November 9, 2016 California approved proposition 64 to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana. State law defines the amount of marijuana that a qualified patient or their primary caregiver can possess and cultivate. Adults over the age of 21 can cultivate up to six plants per residence and possess the marijuana produced by these plants. All plants and harvest in excess of one ounce must be kept in a locked space not in public view at one’s residence. Local governance may forbid all outdoor cultivation, but must allow it inside a private residence or accessory structure that is “fully enclosed and secure.” Merced county enforces the following cultivation restrictions found in county ordinance section 9.29.060; (1) outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana is prohibited in all areas of the county, (2) indoor cultivation is limited to 6 plants per residence and must be contained within a single private residence or within a fully enclosed structure, secured by lock and key or other security device that is inaccessible to minors, (3) cultivation must comply with building and construction code, title 16, (4) cultivation cannot be conducted in a manner that constitutes a public nuisance and (5) primary use of the property must remain at all times a residence.


On June 20, 2018 at about 4:30 pm, the Merced County Sheriff’s Office Detectives Bureau took 24-year-old Juan Ceja-Prado of Planada into custody. Ceja-Prado was the primary suspect in the double homicide that took place at the taco truck in Planada earlier this year. The Detectives Bureau served a search warrant on Ceja-Prado’s residence.

Ceja-Prado was arrested when he reported into probation later that day.
Sheriff Vern Warnke and the Merced County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Community of Planada for their help over the past few months. With the Community and Sheriff’s Office working together, we have been able to take criminals like Ceja-Prado off the streets and in return the crime in Planada has decreased significantly. Between October 1, 2017 and June 15, 2018, The Sheriff’s Office has noticed a decrease of about 80% in gang related crimes in Planada. Below is the breakdown of call volume.

October 1, 2017 to March 26, 2018
Reason for Calls: Number Of Calls:

Penal Code 246 – Shooting at an Inhabited Dwelling or Occupied Car – 5

Penal Code 245 – Assault with a deadly weapon – 4

Call for Service Code 232 – Suspected Shots Fired – 17

March 26, 2018 to June 15, 2018
Reason for Calls: Number Of Calls:

Penal Code 246 – Shooting at an Inhabited Dwelling or Occupied Car – 1

Penal Code 245 – Assault with a deadly weapon – 1

Call for Service Code 232 – Suspected Shots Fired – 8

If you have any information regarding a crime that has occurred, please contact the Merced County Sheriff’s Office at (209) 385-7445. You can remain anonymous and your tip could help in solving a crime and bring justice to criminals.


Spend the day in Sacramento without having to beat traffic with Amtrak San Joaquin new Morning Express Train to Sacramento, board as far south as Fresno and arrive by 8:00A.m. Work while you travel with their free WiFi, relax and take a nap in comfortable seating, or take advantage of their regional selection of snacks, sandwiches, craft beer and more.

The “First Ride Free” program is only valid for round-trip travel on train #701 with a return on train #702 or #704 and for travel Monday – Friday excluding Holidays. It is not valid on any other train number. Program is only valid for a one round-trip per passenger.

Upon receipt and approval of your “First Ride Free” application, an SJJPA representative will reach out to you. Participants in the program must be at least 18 years old. “First Ride Free” only valid for first time riders. Persons who have received a “First Ride Free” ticket in the past or are/have been a Morning Express rider are not eligible for additional “First Ride Free” tickets.

Allow 48 hours to process request. At anytime SJJPA can cancel or suspend this promotion. This form and free tickets have no monetary value and cannot be refunded or replaced. Limit one free round-trip per first time round-trip Morning Express passengers on trains #701, #702 or #704.

For more information regarding this program, please contact or click on the following link to register for your first ride for free.


A Merced Gateway News viewer sent us these videos of a fire in Winton near the intersections of Gertrude Avenue and Winton Way, near the Winton cemetery, it happened just before sunset.

According to the viewer, the fire was close to a home. MGN does not have any further information at this time, the Atwater Fire Department was contacted regarding this fire, Merced Gateway News will post an update when information becomes  available.


A “police taxi” with a distinctive paint job seen in Modesto is deployed around the city to discourage people from drinking and driving. The front half of the Ford Crown Victoria is painted like a standard black-and-white police car, but the back half is painted yellow with the words “taxi” and “choose your ride” on the side of the vehicle.

The police taxi is utilized at DUI checkpoints and placed on display at various locations and events throughout the city. The goal is to increase public awareness, create discussion about the dangers of impaired driving, reminding motorists that they need to make responsible decisions while drinking.

Do you think Merced Police should get one of these?


On June 16th, 2018, at around 10:46A.M the CHP Merced dispatch recieved calls of an overturned vehicle at Shanks road off ramp exit in Delhi. Upon CHP arriving at the scene officers found a 1998 Astro Van overturned.

Upon further investigation officers said, a 2-year-old boy suffered major injuries after being ejected from the van, he was not properly restrained in  a child car seat. The mother 25-year-old from Winton lost control of the van CHP did not release her name.

The 2-year-old was airlifted to Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera with major injuries. The mother was not arrested, drugs or alchohol were not a factor, the collision remains under investigation.

Pictures of the area in the comments section.


The Hot Spot 209, now has a location to call home. For now until further notice they will be open  Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s, Starting at 11A.M no closing time is available for now, it will go depending on business traffic, they are located at the Atwater Castle Airforce Base, look for a red food trailer and red truck.

If you’re coming down from the Merced area, enter the second gate on bowling alley side…Feel free to tell friends and family to try this place out. Their goal is to keep you full and satisfied.

Catering is also available visit their location for further information and pricing.


At approximately 7:13 a.m., Steve Edward Anderson , 48, from Oakland was driving a 2009 freightliner hauling a box trailer (unknown what it was carrying) the driver was going appropriately at 55-60 mph on southbound SR99 attempting to exit Applegate Rd exit.

Due to unsafe speed, big rig over turned on its driver side and came to rest blocking to on/off ramp at Applegate. Diver had minor injuries and transported to Mercy Hospital for treatment. No other vehicle was involved, no drugs or alcohol suspected.


The former Save Mart that was closed about 6-years ago, located at 1136 W. Main street at the intersections of “R” and Main streets in Merced has a new grocery chain that would occupy the former Save Mart building.

The new business opening is Cardena’s Market, Merced will be their 37th store for the chain. Cardenas Market is a store chain that is taking over some of the former Mi Pueblo stores that have been closed. The store is expected to be opening mid September, no exact day was given by the Manager of the construction company.

According to their website, Cardena’s Market offers Groceries traditional flavors, fruits, Bakery, cooked food, fresh Juice bar and vegetables from across the USA, Mexico and more. Stay tuned for further information about where to apply or visit their website at the following link.