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Feds investigates 4 valley CVS drugstores over alleged missing drugs


MODESTO, Calif. (AP) - Federal officials are investigating CVS over tens of thousands of prescription pain killers that they say have gone missing from four of the company's California pharmacies.

Search warrant affidavits reported by the Los Angeles Times on Monday allege roughly 37,000 hydrocodone tablets at CVS pharmacies in Turlock, Fairfield, Modesto and Dixon are unaccounted for.

Hydrocodone - found in such drugs as Vicodin - is one of most widely-abused prescription drugs in the U.S.

Lauren Horwood, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento, told the Times CVS is facing more than 2,900 possible violations of the federal Controlled Substances Act. She said the violations would carry a maximum fine of $29 million.

CVS spokesman Michael DeAngelis said the company regularly tells its pharmacists to maintain certain records and paperwork.


Sonora third-graders school caught with pot


SONORA, Calif. (AP) - Police in a Central California city are trying to determine how three third-graders caught smoking marijuana got the drug. Sonora Police Chief Mark Stinson says the two 8-year-olds and a 9-year-old were discovered by another student last week at Sonora Elementary School.

Superintendent Leigh Shampain told KPIX-TV the students were smoking in a school bathroom.

The student who found the smokers told school officials, who contacted police.

The third-graders were released to their parents. Stinson said on Wednesday police were looking into whether someone supplied the drug to the kids. He said they were the youngest pot smokers he had encountered in his 33 years in law enforcement. KPIX-TV said Shampain would not discuss how the third-graders might be disciplined.


Modesto cops add 'armadillo' to force


MODESTO - Modesto police have a lot more eyes on the streets of troubled neighborhoods with the addition of an "armadillo."

That's the name of the vehicle that resembles a SWAT truck but is actually equipped with eight cameras that feed live images to police buildings, police cars, and even officers' phones.

"We're getting it out there for citizens who are concerned with a drug house or gang activity in their neighborhood," police spokesperson Heather Graves said.

Graves said the armadillo will be put in areas where neighbors have phoned in their complaints of criminal activity. She said it will only be used in public places where an officer could use his vision to see the same activity.

Police ID 3rd suspect in Turlock murder


SACRAMENTO - A third suspect has been identified in the shooting death of a Modesto man last November.

Turlock police say they're looking for 23-year-old Cole Nathaniel Millington. Officer Mayra Lewis said investigators believe Millington is involved in the Nov. 6 murder of 21-year-old Amritpal Sandhu. Sandru was driving in Turlock very early that Wednesday morning when he was killed by gunshots fired on his Infiniti, according to a report in The Modesto Bee.

The next day, Lewis said police arrested 21-year-old Pardeep Singh of Turlock for Sandhu's murder and weapon-related charges, and 22-year-old Kultar Singh Dhatt, also of Turlock, for the murder.

Lewis said Millington is known to frequent the Stockton area. He was described as white, 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighing 185 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes.

California wine-grape growers celebrate bumper crop


MODESTO (AP) - California agriculture officials are reporting good news for wine lovers and vineyard operators alike: a record harvest of wine grapes.

The Modesto Bee reports that growers in the nation's premier wine region brought in a bumper crop last year, thanks to expanded acreage and overall favorable weather.

Wine grapes are one of California's top commodities, a crop worth $3.16 billion last year, according to the California Association of Winegrape Growers.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture's preliminary figures show that the crop of red and white varieties combined weighed in at 4.23 million tons, up 5 percent from 4.02 million tons in 2012.

Wine brokers say those two large harvests will mean wine aficionados should find plenty of bargain bottles on grocery store shelves.

Anyone know this horse?


Someone is missing their horse.

Ceres police officers were called to Don Pedro Road and Central Avenue about 9:15 Thursday night for a report of a horse loose in the area.

Arriving officers found the horse in a yard on the 2100 block of Don Pedro and were able to keep it confined to the yard by blocking it with their patrol cars, according to the police report.

The horse nibbled grass until Animal Services came with a horse trailer to take it.

Efforts by police to find the horse's owner were unsuccessful and police said no one has reported their horse is missing.

Anyone who knows who owns the horse was asked to contact Stanislaus County Animal Services Agency at (209) 558-7387.


Modesto woman's car found but not her

MODESTO - What happened to a Modesto woman whose car was found but not her more than two weeks ago remains a mystery.

Nicholle Yarnell, 46, was last seen the morning of Friday, Jan. 10. The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department said she left home to go to a store near the intersection of Paradise and Rimes roads.

"She went to the store that morning to get a newspaper and some juices," her husband Ray Yarnell said.

When she didn't return home, her husband went to the store and found her car with all of her personal belongings inside.

Detectives and Yarnell's relatives have been trying to make contact with her without success. They said because her belongings were found inside the truck, including her purse and ID, they are considering this case suspicious.

Investigators said they have not found any evidence she has tried to contact her family.