MERCED, CA – On 04/07/16 the Merced Area Gang/Narcotic Enforcement Team began an investigation into the illegal manufacturing of AR-15 style assault weapons. The investigation lead MAGNET Agents to a residence in the 2200 blk of Franklin Rd. in Merced County.

After a day’s long surveillance agents served a search warrant at a residence on Franklin Rd. While serving the search warrant a suspect identified as Anthony Costa ran from the residence but was quickly apprehended as he tried to jump a backyard fence. Costa was a wanted parolee from Merced. During the search of a detached garage agents located August and several other subjects. Agents also located tools, a jig designed for milling out AR-15 lowers and other items associated for the manufacturing process.

While conducting their investigation a subject identified as Jonathan Vasquez arrived at the residence in a vehicle. Vasquez was unaware of the presence of law enforcement and had in his possession an unfinished lower receiver for an AR-15 rifle. Based on the evidence located at the house agents believe Vasquez was bringing the unfinished lower to August to have it milled out which would make it operational once it was re-assembled. (See photos)

During a search of Vasquez’s vehicle, agents discovered two other firearms and approximately an ounce of crystal methamphetamine. Agents also discovered a large sum of currency. Vasquez is a convicted felon.

Agents arrested and charged August with furnishing a weapon to a prohibited person (Vasquez convicted felon) Agents arrested Vasquez for being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of ammo by a felon and possession of methamphetamine for sales. All three suspects were transported and booked into Merced County Jail.

If you have any information regarding this case, or these three suspects please contact Sgt. Rodney Court of the Merced Area Gang/Narcotic Enforcement Team at 209/385-6912 or 564-0561.

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