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By Craig W. Anderson 

The Agriculture, Gangs & Narcotics Enforcement Team – AGNET – is a crime fighting unit within the Sheriff’s Office that will, said Sheriff Pat Withrow, “blanket the county and work closely with our community cars and beat cars that are assigned, so it’s extra bodies out there.”

AGNET is a very new, aggressive, proactive team that will identify trends developed by department analysis and reports in order to prevent crime before it occurs, according to the sheriff. Withrow said AGNET has combined various units into one and manpower is on the streets when analysis has determined crime is most likely to take place. Ag crime detectives will be working during the times when crime is expected to occur outside of the traditional 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. business hours.

By Vicky Boyd 

San Joaquin County cherry producers are poised to harvest a large crop this season, barring
unforeseen bad weather. These green cherries near Linden were only about a month away from being

Photo by Vicky Boyd


Barring unforeseen bad weather during the next six weeks until harvest begins, this year’s San Joaquin County’s cherry crop appears set to rebound from the frost-ravaged season of 2018. And the larger crop actually may attract enough harvest crews motivated to make good money, reducing labor concerns.

Jim Ferrari, a Linden-area cherry grower and president of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau, describes his cherry crop this year as “extremely heavy.”

“The big part will be to try to get them to size,” he said. “At this point, I wish it were a little lighter because it would be easier to make them size. We have to worry about bigger cherries this year because there are so many that they aren’t going to want the 12-row cherries.”

By Vicky Boyd 

A viral disease some have dubbed the “Grim Reaper of poultry” has prompted the euthanizing of more than 1 million birds and a multi-county quarantine in Southern California to try to halt its spread. 

One rooster was also confirmed infected with virulent Newcastle disease, or vND, in Alameda County that had ties to the Southern California outbreak as well as possibly to a backyard flock in Tracy. The bird has since been euthanized, and disease eradication officials continue to monitor the situation.

By Craig W. Anderson 

Senate Bill 224, authored by State Sen. Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, now wending its way through California’s legislative bureaucracy, would – when passed into law – create a new ag crime category in the state Penal Code for grand theft of agricultural property, an action that is expected to deter future thefts. 

Agricultural equipment specifically included in the proposed legislation: tractors, all-terrain vehicles, or other agriculture equipment, or any portion used in producing food for public consumption which are worth more than $950 that is stolen is grand theft.