Drug Trafficking Organization Utilizing Sophisticated Smuggling Techniques Dismantled
NOV 20 - (STOCKTON, CA) – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gordon Taylor and United States Attorney McGregor W. Scott, announced the culmination of a two year investigation targeting members of a drug trafficking organization operating in the Stockton area. This investigation resulted in 13 federal arrests and the seizure of 31 pounds of cocaine, 14 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, 2 pounds of heroin, 4 handguns and $25,000 in cash. The street value of the seized drugs is approximately $1.7 million dollars.
DEA ASAC Gordon Taylor stated, “This sophisticated drug ring served up a smorgasbord of illegal drugs that were destined for drug users throughout the Stockton area. These arrests and seizures have toppled this organization and should have a positive impact within the local communities.”
This Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation began approximately two years ago by the DEA, San Joaquin County Metropolitan Task Force, Stockton Police Department and IRS-Criminal Investigation, after receiving information regarding the organization, believed to have ties to Mexico and Los Angeles. This family based drug trafficking group, headed by Stockton resident Hector Ojeda BARRAZA, used cars outfitted with sophisticated, electronically operated hidden compartments for drug transportation. Investigators believe this was done in an attempt to thwart law enforcement efforts during entry into the United States and to facilitate transportation and distribution of the drugs. Furthermore, the level of sophistication of this organization extended to assigning members specific roles to further the organization’s goals, such as hidden compartment fabricators, money launderers, drug couriers, smugglers, straw party vehicle owners, and caretakers of various drug stash houses.
Agents also discovered the organization was allegedly laundering their illegal drug proceeds through Super Mercados Grocery Store located at 2481 Main Street in Stockton, which is operated by Rogelio MACEDO. The investigation culminated on November 19 & 20, 2008, when over 150 law enforcement personnel served 27 federal search warrants primarily in the Stockton area, with several search warrants served in Tracy, Modesto, Oakland and Los Angeles, CA. Additionally, 13 federal arrests were made in connection with the case. The following individuals were arrested on federal drug or money laundering charges:
This investigation was conducted by the following agencies: DEA Sacramento District Office, San Joaquin County Metropolitan Task Force, Stockton Police Department, IRS-CID Sacramento Field Office, with assistance from the California Highway Patrol, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, Lodi Police Department, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department, Manteca Police Department, Stanislaus County Drug Enforcement Agency, Stanislaus HIDTA, Tracy Police Department, Ripon Police Department-Special Investigations Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Marshal's Service, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Sacramento Police Department.
This case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of California. Arrested individuals are scheduled to have their initial appearances in Sacramento Federal Court on November 20, 2008. A complaint contains only allegations against an individual and all defendants must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.