DEA: Drug Organization Used Juveniles to Smuggle and Sell Meth
MAR 23 -- Federal Law Enforcement officials announced the indictment of 19 individuals charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and three of these individuals were also charged with carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. Court documents also allege the defendants used multiple juveniles to sell or smuggle methamphetamine.
The indictment alleges that a group of individuals led by Jorge Arreola-Gomez distributed large amounts of methamphetamine in southern California and elsewhere. Among those charged with Arreola are two sisters, his wife, his mother, and two brothers-in-law. According to the indictment, the defendants used numerous couriers to transport drugs domestically and across the U.S.-Mexico border.
"I cannot overstate the destructive nature of methamphetamine. We will continue to be relentless in our efforts against drug dealers who are bringing this poison into our neighborhoods," said DEA Special Agent in Charge John S. Fernandes.
According to court documents, the investigation led to the seizure of over 140 pounds of methamphetamine, 20 pounds of pseudoephedrine (a nasal decongestant commonly used to manufacture methamphetamine), over $25,000 in currency, and one firearm. The complaint outlines numerous seizures that resulted from the investigation, including:
United States Attorney Carol C. Lam said, " This case reflects the way methamphetamine is tied into so many threats to society -- precursor chemicals, the corruption of juveniles, and the connection between methamphetamine and firearms.
U.S. Attorney Lam stated that this investigation was supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force ("OCDETF"). The OCDETF program was created to consolidate and utilize all law enforcement resources in this country's battle against major drug trafficking.
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Number of Defendants: 19
Count 1: Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 846, 841
Penalties: Mandatory minimum 10 years in prison, maximum of life in prison and $4 million fine
Count 2: Carrying a Firearm During and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, in violation of Title 18, Unites States Code, Section 924(c)
Penalties: Maximum of life in prison and $250,000 fine