MERCED, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The recovery of a stolen vehicle leads to an arrest and seizure of drugs in Atwater according to the Merced Police Department.

Officers say that on August 31, an officer located an unoccupied stolen vehicle that had a LoJack tracking device installed at the U-haul parking lot in the 1200 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way. During the recovery, the officer located four pounds of methamphetamine, over 1,000 fentanyl tablets, and a firearm. The driver was identified as 32-year-old Juan Barajas of Atwater.

Stolen car leads to drug & weapon seizure, police say

On September 2, officers from the Gang Violence Suppression Unit conducted a probation search at Barajas’ residence in Atwater where he was arrested according to the Merced Police Department. An additional pound of methamphetamine and six pounds of marijuana were found in his residence.

According to officers, Barajas was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and fentanyl tablets with the intent to distribute, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm. He was booked into custody at the Merced County Jail.

Merced Police are asking anyone with information regarding this crime to please contact Officer Matthew Calcagno at (209) 385-6905 or by e-mail at