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A repeat felon told the Sheriff’s deputy that the rifle found alongside his bed was dropped off by somebody who traded the firearm for drugs, a deputy testified today.

Deputy Jeff Lauhon said the “very animated” and “hype-active” suspect also told him the baggie of white powder was his own supply of meth, from which he “chipped” and sold off bits to help pay his rent.

The Fallbrook home of Salvador Mendez was searched in December of 2011 and deputies found a “thirty-aught-six” rifle and live ammunition and more than a gram of meth, according to testimony in a preliminary hearing in San Diego’s North County courthouse.

Forty-two-year-old Mendez was out on bail for a prior matter at the time of the alleged new offenses, and his home was searched by right of a “fourth amendment waiver” that was imposed as a condition of his release.

Prosecutor Geoff Allard alleges that Mendez has six prior convictions in San Diego County for drug offenses dating back to at least 1993, when Mendez would have been 23 years old.

Public defender Jeremy Burland argued that the search condition was unconstitutional because such a waiver of rights cannot be imposed on a defendant who posts bail, and therefore the judge who did so made a “complete mistake of law.”

Judge Harry Elias ruled that the deputy “acted in good faith” when he checked records to confirm the “fourth waiver,” and the judge ordered the defendant to answer four new criminal charges: possession of firearm and ammunition by a felon, and possession of meth, and under the influence.

The defendant was allowed to remain free on the bond already posted, and Judge Elias lifted the fourth amendment waiver that another judge had imposed, and Mendez was ordered to return to court July 9.

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