Mexico Extradites Alleged Drug Trafficker to Fresno
AUG 14 -- FRESNO – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Javier Peña, United States Attorney McGregor W. Scott, and U.S. Marshal Antonio C. Amador announced today that the Mexican government has extradited to the United States a Mexican national, DANIEL ANGULO, to face charges stemming from his role in a cocaine trafficking organization based in Merced County, California. The organization transported cocaine from Mexico to cities throughout the United States.
The case is the product of a long-term Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, which targeted SERGIO PADILLA's drug trafficking organization. Numerous law enforcement agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service; the Douglas County, Nebraska Sheriff’s Department; the Madera County Narcotics Enforcement Team (MADNET); the Merced Police Department; the Merced County Sheriff’s Department; the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department; the Los Banos Police Department and the Merced Multi-Agency Narcotics Task Force, assisted in the investigation.
The Mexican national, DANIEL ANGULO, 40, of Sinaloa, Mexico, was extradited from Mexico to Fresno, California, to answer a two-count indictment alleging his role in the drug ring.
On March 9, 2006, a federal grand jury sitting in Fresno returned the indictment which charged that ANGULO, along with his brother, TRINIDAD ANGULO, 41, of Madera, California, SERGIO PADILLA, 41, of Merced, California, and others engaged in criminal activity related to their involvement in trafficking large quantities of cocaine.
According to court documents, in February, 2006, SERGIO PADILLA recruited DANIEL ANGULO to transport approximately 38 kilograms of cocaine (about 84 pounds) from the Los Angeles area to Merced County. That cocaine had first been smuggled into the United States from Mexico and was destined for distribution to violent gang members in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When ANGULO reached Dos Palos, California, he became aware that he was being followed by drug agents and abandoned the truck with the cocaine. With the help of his brother, TRINIDAD ANGULO, DANIEL ANGULO fled to Mexico. Drug agents seized 38 kilograms of cocaine from the pickup truck DANIEL ANGULO had been driving. Agents also seized approximately $1.5 million in cash from the residences of SERGIO PADILLA and his sister, LORENA PEREZ, 39, also of Merced. In all, 12 co-conspirators were arrested and charged in federal court in Fresno.
TRINIDAD ANGULO has entered a guilty plea to conspiring with his brother, DANIEL ANGULO, along with PADILLA, PEREZ, and others to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. TRINIDAD ANGULO is currently serving a 51 month prison sentence in a federal prison for his involvement in the conspiracy. PHILIP BRIZAN, 42, of Atwater, and his brother, WAYNE BRIZAN, aka Cornelius James, 39, of Davie, Florida, are both serving 11 year sentences in federal prison following their guilty pleas in Fresno to the drug conspiracy. Another brother, JUDE BRIZAN, 44, of Modesto is serving a seven year sentence after his guilty plea to the same conspiracy.
PADILLA and PEREZ, along with two other co-conspirators, FRANCHESKA BRIZAN, 39, of Atwater, and DAMON GUNN, aka Damian Gunn, 33, of Turlock, California are awaiting trial in Fresno in connection with the drug conspiracy. GUNN, who had been released on bond over the government's objection, was arrested earlier this year in Texas for smuggling 12 illegal aliens from Mexico. He was recently sentenced to four years in federal prison for that offense and was transported in the care and custody of the U.S. Marshal Service to Fresno to await his trial on the drug conspiracy.
If convicted of the charges, DANIEL ANGULO and his co-conspirators face a maximum sentence of life in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison and a fine of $4 million. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables and any applicable statutory sentencing factors.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Peña commented, "The extradition of Daniel Angulo to the United States from Mexico shows that drug traffickers can run, but cannot hide from justice. Drug traffickers should take note that Mexico will not provide sanctuary for them. Our extradition treaty with Mexico is working."
United States Attorney Scott stated, "We are grateful to the Office of International Affairs of the U.S. Department of Justice, the State Department, and our Mexican counterparts for their efforts in both the arrest and extradition of Daniel Angulo."
The U.S. State Department's 2008 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, released March 1, said Mexico continued to be the principal transit country for cocaine entering the United States, with 90 percent of the cocaine destined for the United States passing through the Mexican mainland or the country's periphery. The report added that Mexican authorities extradited a record 83 fugitives to the United States in 2007 -- up from 63 in 2006. The fugitives included Mexican citizens and defendants accused of narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and other serious crimes. The section of the report pertaining to Mexico is available on the State Department website at http://www.state.gov/p/inl/rls/nrcrpt/ under 2008 Narcotics Control Reports.
DANIEL ANGULO’s next court appearance will be on August 15, 2008, at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sandra M. Snyder. The remaining defendant’s next district court appearance in this matter is scheduled before Chief United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii in Fresno on September 8, 2008.
The charges in the indictment are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.