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Four Caught in Undercover Operation Targeting Drug Trafficking in Sacramento County

MAY 09 (SACRAMENTO, Calif.) —A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging four defendants with drug trafficking, announced United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Special Agent in Charge Bruce C. Balzano.

According to the indictment, Miguel Angel Flores-Mendez, aka, Migue, aka Miguel, 22, of Mexico; Luis Fernando Vasquez-Morales, aka, Luis Fernando Morales, 27, of Mexico; Joshua Avila, aka, Scarface, 36, of Sacramento; and Salvador Padilla, 33, of Sacramento, conspired to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine; possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and unlawful use of a communication facility.

This case is the product of a nine-month undercover investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Sacramento HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) task force, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, Sacramento Police Department, Folsom Police Department, Elk Grove Police Department, Merced HIDTA task force, and San Jose Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Jill Thomas is prosecuting the case.

“Partnership with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office was key to the success of this investigation. This case exemplifies the results that can be achieved through the collaboration of local, state, and federal law enforcement,” stated Acting Special Agent in Charge Balzano.

If convicted, the defendants face sentences of up to life in prison and a $10 million fine. Any sentence would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a focused multi-agency, multijurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.


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