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Heroin Traffickers Arrested

AUG 19 (FRESNO, Calif.) – Five men were arrested last week for trafficking heroin in the counties of San Joaquin, Sacramento, and Stanislaus, Acting Special Agent in Charge Bruce C. Balzano and United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

The indictment charges Jose Martinez-Gonzalez, 38, of Bakersfield; Porfiro Farias, 30, of East Palo Alto; Ignacio Villalobos-Lopez, 39, of San Jose; and Alex Sanchez, 43, of San Leandro, with charges related to heroin trafficking. The indictment alleges that the individuals conspired to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin between January 13, 2011, and September 4, 2012. Jose Martinez-Gonzalez is additionally charged with possessing heroin with intent to distribute on January 26 and March 26, 2012, in Stanislaus County.

The four-count indictment was returned by a federal grand jury on May 23, 2013 and unsealed after the defendants’ arrests. They appeared in federal magistrate courts in San Jose, Oakland, Bakersfield, and Fresno on August 15 and 16, 2013, and entered pleas of not guilty. All defendants will next be appearing in the federal court for the Eastern District of California in Fresno on September 9, 2013.

In a related case, Octavio Gallegos-Vazquez, aka Efren Pioqunito Esquevel, 32, of Modesto was arrested on an outstanding warrant from a 2003 indictment in the Eastern District of California that charged him with conspiring to import and distribute heroin and possess heroin intending to distribute. He pleaded not guilty to those charges.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, San Mateo Task Force, San Joaquin County Task Force, San Jose Police Department, and Modesto Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Kathleen A. Servatius is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, the defendants face a statutory penalty for conspiring to distribute heroin of 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine, and five years to life of supervised release. The statutory penalty for possessing heroin with intent to distribute in the amounts alleged in the indictment is five to 40 years in prison, a $5 million fine, and four years to life of supervised release. Any sentence, however, 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.

 


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