MEMBERS OF VENTURA AND SANTA BARBARA COUNTY STREET GANGS CHARGED IN FEDERAL DRUG TRAFFICKING CASE
LOS ANGELES – Three men linked to three street gangs in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties have been arraigned on federal drug trafficking charges that accuse them of distributing methamphetamine.
A federal grand jury late last month indicted the three men in relation to a series of transactions that each involved approximately two ounces of methamphetamine. The three defendants were arraigned yesterday in United States District Court, where they each pleaded not guilty to the charges in the federal indictment.
Those named in the indictment are:
Juan Duran Rivas, also known as “Flaco,” 37, of Ventura, who according to court documents is a founding member of the Oxnard-based Surtown street gang;
Jose Anthony Rivas, 35, of Ventura, who is Juan Rivas’ brother and, according to court documents, is a member of the Oxnard-based Squires Drive street gang; and
David Michael Jimenez, 24, of Carpenteria, who according to court documents is a member of the Carpas street gang.
All three defendants have been detained without bond since they were arrested on December 16.
The indictment in the case alleges that the three defendants were involved in six transactions, each involving approximately 50 grams of methamphetamine, from September through December 2010.
The indictment charges all three defendants with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, a charge that carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a potential life sentence in federal prison.
Additionally, each defendant is charged with distributing methamphetamine, with
Juan Rivas facing three counts, Jose Rivas named in four counts of distribution, and Jimenez charged in one count. The distribution counts carry maximum penalties ranging from life to 20 years in prison, depending on the quantities of drugs involved.
At yesterday’s arraignment, the case was assigned to a federal judge who is expected to soon schedule a trial in the matter.
The case against the Rivas brothers and Jimenez was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Ventura County Regional Interagency Anti-Crime Task Force, the Oxnard Police Department and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
This case is part of Operation Peaceworks, a collaboration between the United States Department of Justice, the Oxnard Police Department, and the California Governor’s Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention Office.
Release No. 11-006
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