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Bail Bondsman Pleads Guilty to Drug and Firearms Crimes

MARCH 04 (FRESNO, Calif.) —Manuel Vasquez, 30, a Fresno bail bondsman who resided in Selma, pleaded guilty today to participating in a long-term methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy and aiding and abetting a convicted felon, Edwan Dablan, 37, of Kingsburg, to possess multiple firearms, Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Special Agent in Charge Bruce C. Balzano and United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

“The investigation and prosecution of this case, in fact, resulted in the dismantling of a drug trafficking organization based in Kingsburg, which operated over a four-year period,” U.S. Attorney Wagner said. “Today’s guilty plea marks the eighth conviction resulting from the OCDETF investigation.”

According to court documents, Vasquez was a Fresno bail bondsman who worked for Allegra Bail Bonds and, subsequently, Compass Bail Bonds. He and co-defendants Edwan Dablan and his brother, Khamal Dablan, 25, of Selma, sold and delivered methamphetamine to a law enforcement confidential source. During the negotiations with the confidential source, Edwan Dablan represented that Vasquez was Dablan’s bail bondsman who could get him out of custody if he ever got arrested. Vasquez also acknowledged that he held and concealed 16 firearms, including an Uzi submachine gun and two stolen handguns, three silencers, and a grenade for Edwan Dablan, a convicted felon. Federal law prohibits a convicted felon from possessing a firearm. In pleading guilty, Vasquez agreed to the forfeiture of the firearms and silencers. He also agreed to give up his bail bondsman license.

For his conviction on the drug conspiracy offense, Vasquez faces 10 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10 million. Vasquez faces an additional 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000 for his conviction on the firearm crime. He is scheduled for sentencing before Senior U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on May 13, 2013. The Dablan brothers entered guilty pleas last month and are scheduled for sentencing on April 8. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

The case is the product of a long-term Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) wiretap investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Fresno Methamphetamine Task Force (FMTF), a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) initiative, which consisted of agents from the DEA, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the Fresno Police Department, the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the California Highway Patrol. The OCDETF program was established in 1982 to mount a comprehensive attack against organized drug traffickers. Today, the OCDETF is the centerpiece of the United States Attorney General's drug strategy to reduce the availability of drugs by disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations and money laundering organizations and related criminal enterprises. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen A. Escobar is prosecuting the criminal case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Mardel Jones is handling the forfeiture proceedings.


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