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Cal. Police Seize More Than a Half Million Worth of Meth

Tulare police seized more than $500,000 worth of methamphetamine and made one arrest while serving a search warrant at a residence in the 1800 block of Bridger Avenue Thursday afternoon.

The seized drugs and arrest concluded a year-long investigation into drug sales in the area.

Tulare police Sgt. Ruben Morales estimated the street value of the drugs seized, 2 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and 7 pounds of "pure, uncut" methamphetamine, at $500,300.

Morales said crystal methamphetamine is the most expensive drug available on the streets.

"It's also known as 'ice,'" he said.

There are 455 grams in a pound. A gram, the same amount found in a sugar package, is the most common drug sale on the street. A gram of "uncut, pure" methamphetamine goes for $80 to $100, and a gram of "ice" is worth $300.

Drug dealers mixed chemicals to add weight to the methamphetamine and, while the addition reduces the drug's potency, it increases the weight and the number of sales. A gram of "cut" methamphetamine is $20, while a gram of dilated "ice" is $100.

The department's High Risk Entry Team served the warrant, said Tulare police Lt. Jerry Breckinridge.

"We went there with the intent of getting a large amount of drugs," he said. "It was our expectation we would find a substantial amount of methamphetamine."

While serving the warrant, officers also found packaging materials and items associated with the sale of methamphetamine.

Police arrested 35-year-old Anthony Ray Ortega on suspicion of possession of a methamphetamine for sale. He is scheduled to be arraigned next week.

Morales said police learned about Ortega's activities through their sources and contacts, but the alleged drug seller had never been arrested before in Tulare. Three other men were at the residence when the warrant was served, but were released after determining they had no knowledge about the methamphetamine, police said.

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