FRESNO, CA — Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams and United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today that Fabio Cazares-Zamora, 37, of Modesto, and Abundio Hernandez, 45, of Oakland, were sentenced today by United States District Judge Oliver W. Wanger for heroin trafficking. Cazares-Zamora was sentenced to 14 years in prison and five years of supervised release for conspiring to import heroin. Hernandez was sentenced to seven years and two months in prison and five years of supervised release for conspiring to distribute heroin.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), which includes the DEA, the San Francisco Police Department, the San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force, and the DEA’s Special Operations Division, with assistance from the Stanislaus County Drug Enforcement Agency, the California Highway Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, several Bay Area Police Departments, and the District Attorney’s Offices in San Mateo, Stanislaus, and San Francisco Counties. The federal OCDETF program leverages the combined expertise of federal, state, and local law enforcement in targeting significant drug trafficking organizations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen A. Servatius is prosecuting the case.
According to court documents, the conspiracy formed a chain of supply from Michoacan, Mexico to the Modesto and the Bay Area. Court records reveal that Cazares-Zamora headed this organization, which exported heroin by the kilogram in elaborate hidden compartments in vehicles. The organization supplied major dealers, such as Hernandez, in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, East Palo Alto, Hayward, and San Leandro, who in turn supplied hundreds of heroin users and addicts. The conspiracy came full-circle when the bulk cash from Bay Area heroin sales was smuggled back to Michoacan, Mexico in the same hidden compartments.
The investigation uncovered approximately 200 kilograms of heroin being smuggled into the United States and $670,000 in cash destined for Mexico as proceeds of the heroin trafficking. DEA estimates place the street value of the heroin at $17.5 million. Investigators seized approximately 50 kilograms of the smuggled heroin and $250,000 in of the bulk cash. DEA has also seized three of the vehicles for destruction.
Cazares-Zamora and Hernandez were charged by indictment along with 21 other defendants, 10 of whom remain fugitives. These sentences are the first in the case. Martha Garibay-Hernandez, 34, of Modesto, and Flor Loviano, 30, of East Palo Alto, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute heroin and are scheduled to be sentenced on June 6, 2011 and July 18, 2011, respectively. Hipolito Briseno-Toscano, 58, of Mexico, pleaded guilty to conspiring to import heroin and will be sentenced on June 6, 2011. A status conference is set on June 20, 2011 for a number of the co-defendants.