04/11/2007

Calif. officer bitten by suspect trying to swallow drugs

By Doane Yawger
The Merced Sun-Star

MERCED, Calif. — While arresting a Merced man on suspicion of drug charges early Tuesday, a police officer was bitten on the hand. In a separate incident, a man was apprehended on suspicion of selling cocaine and methamphetamine late Monday night.

Cmdr. Tom Martin of the Merced Police Department said Darren Thurman, 42, of Merced was arrested at 12:11 a.m. Tuesday at 98 E. 12th St. after he reportedly bit Officer Kalvin Haygood during a scuffle.

Thurman was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest and possession of cocaine base. He remained in Merced County Jail on Tuesday night in lieu of $11,500 bail, according to a correctional official.

Martin said Haygood stopped a white Geo Prizm in the 1200 block of G Street for a driving violation. The driver of the car and Thurman, a passenger, both gave Haygood permission to search the car. Directly under the seat where Thurman had been seated he found a small plastic sandwich bag that had a hole ripped in it.

Haygood believed the bag had been used to hold drugs and Thurman was hiding drugs on his person, Martin said.

Thurman was advised he was going to be searched and was told to open his mouth. When he did so Haygood looked inside and saw two small plastic bags of what looked like cocaine base.

Martin said Haygood attempted to detain Thurman and keep him from swallowing the drugs.

As he did so Thurman bit Haygood on the finger. The two scuffled and Thurman finally spit out two packages. Thurman was transported to jail where he acknowledged that he was a drug user.

Haygood received a minor wound to the hand from being bitten by Thurman, Martin said.

In a separate incident Monday at 11:31 p.m., Alfredo Larios, 22, a transient, was arrested on suspicion of possession of cocaine, possession of cocaine for sale, transportation of cocaine, possession and possession for sale of methamphetamine, transportation of meth, using a false compartment inside a vehicle to hide drugs, driving a car while unlicensed and running a stop sign.

Larios was booked into Merced County Jail where he remained Tuesday night in lieu of $468,000 bail, according to a correctional official.

Martin said Officer Joe Perez saw a 1998 Lincoln Towncar driven by Larios fail to stop for a stop sign at Dinkey Creek and South Parsons avenues.

Larios gave Perez permission to search the car. Perez and Officer Chris Russell searched the car and Perez pushed a button to unlock the gas cap lid door.

As the door opened Perez saw a black leather drawstring sack stuffed inside. Above the gas cap was a digital scale. Perez opened the sack and found two large bindles containing methamphetamine weighing just over 7 grams while the other contained cocaine weighing just over 6 grams, Martin said.

Larios told Perez the drugs and scales were his and he is a drug user, not a dealer, according to Martin.

Copyright 2007 The Merced Sun-Star
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