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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | WEST COUNTY / OXNARD

2 Men Arrested in Cocaine Case

July 10, 1998|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT

Two men have been arrested after a surveillance operation in which officers watched a cocaine sale occur in the parking lot of an Oxnard dairy, deputies said Thursday.

Camarillo resident Claude Courtney and Louie Merchant of Oxnard, both 43, were taken into custody about 10 p.m. Tuesday after deputies witnessed what appeared to be a drug deal near East 5th Street and Rice Avenue, deputies said.

Deputies in street clothing first spotted Courtney when he answered a public telephone in Camarillo, authorities said. He drove to the Oxnard dairy and met Merchant, who was driving a car with his 4-year-son, deputies said.

Courtney was booked on suspicion of being under the influence of cocaine and possession. He was released from jail Wednesday, deputies said. It was unclear if he posted bail or was released on recognizance.

Merchant was booked on suspicion of possessing 10 grams of cocaine for sale and transporting drugs. He was also being held on an earlier charge of inflicting injury on his wife. He remained jailed Thursday in lieu of $20,000 bail.

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