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THREE MEMBERS OF VENTURA AND SANTA BARBARA COUNTY GANGS GET AT LEAST 10 YEARS IN FEDERAL DRUG CASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2011

LOS ANGELES – Three men linked to three street gangs in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties have received sentences ranging from a decade to more than 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to federal charges related to the distribution of methamphetamine.

Two of the three defendants were sentenced this morning by United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II after pleading guilty earlier this year. Those sentenced earlier today were:

David Michael Jimenez, 24, of Carpenteria, who was sentenced to 188 months in prison for his conviction on a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy charge; and

Juan Duran Rivas, also known as “Flaco,” 37, of Ventura, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine.

The third defendant in the case – Jose Anthony Rivas, 35, of Ventura – was sentenced by Judge Wright on June 6 to 10 years in prison. Jose Rivas, who is Juan Rivas’ brother, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine.

The case against the Rivas brothers and Jimenez 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.

“Programs like Operation Peaceworks – which combine traditional suppression efforts with innovative prevention, intervention and re-entry efforts – are at the center of the Justice Department’s efforts to retake control of neighborhoods where gangs run rampant,” said United States Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. “Operation Peaceworks provides identified gang members with opportunities to change their behavior and stop committing crimes, while reminding them of the consequences if they do not. The federal prison sentences announced today are an example of those consequences. Gang members across this region are now warned that if they do not change their behavior, they will be subject to federal prosecution and incarceration.”

According to court records, all three defendants are members of coastal-area gangs. Juan Rivas is a founding member of the Oxnard-based Surtown street gang; Jose Rivas is a member of the Oxnard-based Squires Drive street gang; and Jimenez is a member of the Carpas street gang, the documents show.

All three defendants have been detained without bond since they were arrested on December 16. A federal grand jury in late December indicted the three men in relation to six narcotics transactions, each involving approximately two ounces of methamphetamine, from September through December 2010.

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.

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Release No. 11-087

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