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    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

    (213) 894-6947
    thom.mrozek@usdoj.gov



    Return to the 2010 Press Release Index
    Release No. 10-056

    April 1, 2010

    14 LINKED TO MEXICO-BASED DRUG TRAFFICKING RING ACCUSED OF SMUGGLING AND DISTRIBUTING LARGE QUANTITIES OF METHAMPHETAMINE ARRESTED ON FEDERAL CHARGES

    Federal Criminal Complaint Charges 31 Defendants in Drug Trafficking
    Investigation that Led to Seizure of Over $5 Million worth of Methamphetamine

    LOS ANGELES – A coalition of federal, state and local law enforcement
    authorities today arrested 14 people linked to a Mexico-based drug trafficking
    organization that allegedly smuggled large quantities of methamphetamine into the
    United States and distributed the drug throughout Southern California, the Central
    Valley and the State of Washington.

    Dubbed the Don Chuy Drug Trafficking Organization, the narcotics ring
    allegedly obtained multi-kilogram quantities of methamphetamine in Mexico;
    arranged for the transportation of the drugs into the United States, primarily by
    using hidden compartments and fake car batteries in vehicles driven through
    international ports of entry; and distributed wholesale quantities of the drug
    through cells based in the Inland Empire, California’s Central Valley and
    Washington.

    During an eight-month investigation into the Don Chuy organization, law
    enforcement authorities seized approximately 90 pounds of methamphetamine
    with a street value of well over $5 million. Authorities made a series of large
    seizures of narcotics, including the seizure of almost seven pounds of
    methamphetamine on August 11, 2009; the seizure of almost five pounds of nearly
    pure methamphetamine on September 9; the seizure of approximately 24 pounds
    of methamphetamine that was discovered in a tractor-trailer on Interstate 5 in Kern
    County on October 26; the seizure of more than 10 pounds of methamphetamine
    in Fresno on November 17; and a seizure this morning of approximately five
    pounds of methamphetamine at a house in San Bernardino that authorities believe
    was maintained by the Don Chuy organization. Also, as authorities investigated
    people who allegedly transported methamphetamine for the Don Chuy
    organization, they seized eight kilograms of cocaine secreted in a vehicle that
    attempted to enter the United States at the Calexico Port of Entry on September
    18.

    The Don Chuy Drug Trafficking Organization is named after the ring’s
    alleged leader, Jesus Marquez-Marquez, who is known as “Don Chuy” and
    allegedly stored drugs in Tijuana stash houses before the drugs were moved
    across the international border. Marquez-Marquez, who is the lead defendant in a
    criminal complaint filed yesterday in United States District Court, is believed to be
    in the Mexican state of Michoacán. Several of Don Chuy’s top lieutenants –
    including David Jimenez-Pedroza, who allegedly oversaw domestic distribution of
    Don Chuy narcotics – were arrested today or were previously taken into custody.
    The criminal complaint charges 31 defendants with conspiracy to distribute
    methamphetamine, a charge that carries a statutory maximum penalty of life
    without parole in federal prison.

    Those named in the criminal complaint are:

    the leader of the drug trafficking organization, Jesus Marquez-Marquez, also
    known as “Don Chuy,” approximately 40 years of age, who is believed to be
    residing in Mexico, from where he coordinates for the transportation,
    importation and delivery of methamphetamine to domestic distributors;

    the primary distributor of Don Chuy narcotics in the United States, David
    Jimenez-Pedroza, also known as “Oscar Manuel Guerrero,” 31 or 32, of
    Corona, who is currently in federal custody in San Diego;

    Jimenez-Pedroza’s brother, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, also known as “Joselito,”
    of Mira Loma, who allegedly oversaw Don Chuy “stash houses” and who
    took over as leader of the United States operations of the Don Chuy
    organization when his brother was arrested in January (Jimenez was
    arrested this afternoon);

    Sergio Enrique Beltran Guerrero, also known as “Kique,” 38, who is
    currently in state custody in San Diego and who allegedly led an
    organization that transported narcotics for Don Chuy and other drug
    trafficking organizations;

    Isaias Serrano, also known as “Chaias,” who is believed to be in Mexico,
    where he assists Marquez in the Mexico operations of the Don Chuy
    organization;

    David Silva Benavides, also known as “Prieto,” 28, of Othello, Washington,
    who led a Don Chuy distribution cell in Washington;

    Martin Garcia Angulo, also known as “King Midas,” 43, of Perris, who
    allegedly helped run a Don Chuy distribution cell and who was arrested this
    morning;

    Jose Ascencion Garcia, also known as “Chon,” 34 or 40, of East Los
    Angeles, who allegedly helped Angulo run a Don Chuy distribution cell, and
    who was arrested this morning;

    Alejandro Perez Manzo, also known as “Javier,” 26, of Turlock, California,
    who allegedly ran a Don Chuy distribution cell in the Fresno-Turlock area,
    and who was arrested this morning;

    Margarito Magaro, of Tacoma, Washington, who allegedly worked with the
    Washington-based distribution cell, and who was arrested today;

    Humberto Hubert P. Barraza, 22, of Upland, who allegedly led another Don
    Chuy distribution cell;

    Sergio Beltran Sarabia, also known as “El Senior,” 63, who is currently in
    federal custody in San Diego and who allegedly worked with the Beltran’s
    drug transportation organization;

    Uriel Valdovinos Garcia, also known as “Chente,” who is believed to be in
    his mid-40s and residing in Mexico;

    Juan Alonso Aispuro Chagoya, 20, who is believed to be in Mexico and
    allegedly helped coordinate the transportation of methamphetamine for the
    Don Chuy organization;

    Jose Pacheco Duran, 39, who is currently in state custody and who
    allegedly smuggled methamphetamine into the United States;

    Sergio Chavez Pulido, also known as “Checo,” 43, of Mira Loma, who
    allegedly transported narcotics for the Don Chuy organization on at least
    one occasion;

    Jose Luis Mata-Garcia, who is in his late 30s, of Othello, Washington, who
    was taken into custody this afternoon;

    Iliana Farias, 30, who allegedly was involved in the Washington-based
    distribution cell and was arrested this afternoon in the Los Angeles area;

    Octavio Felix Gonzalez, 39, who is believed to be in Mexico, where he
    allegedly worked with Beltran’s organization;

    Anselma Vega Romero, 40, who is believed to be in Mexico and who also
    allegedly worked with Beltran’s organization;

    Jorge Villanueva, also known as “Jorjon,” who is either 41 or 42, of Fontana,
    who allegedly led a Don Chuy distribution cell, and who was arrested this
    morning;

    Basilio Maldonado, also known as “Chilo,” 33, of Corona, who allegedly ran
    a Don Chuy distribution cell;

    Jairo Alejandro Rodela, 24, who is believed to be in Mexico, who allegedly
    ran Don Chuy’s distribution cell in Bakersfield;

    Lizeth Carpio Hernandez, 19, who is believed to be in Mexico and who
    allegedly helped the Don Chuy organization smuggle methamphetamine
    into the United States;

    Jose Pulido Sanchez, also known as “Chespiro,” 63, of La Puente, who was
    arrested today;

    Elieser Ceja Gallegos, 57, of Ontario, who was arrested this morning;

    Erika Cecilia Valdovino, 37, of Moreno Valley, who allegedly helped
    smuggled methamphetamine into the United States, and who was arrested
    this morning;

    Jose Luis Nunez, who is either 33 or 39, of La Puente, who allegedly ran a
    drug trafficking ring that supplied methamphetamine to Villanueva’s
    distribution cell, and who was arrested this morning;

    Jesus Alvarez Jr., 27, of Bakersfield, who allegedly worked with Rodela in
    the Bakersfield distribution cell, and who was arrested this morning;

    Joanelle Mirasol DeLa Cruz, 37, who is a fugitive; and

    Alma Rodriguez, 29, of Corona, who allegedly helped her boyfriend,
    Jimenez-Pedroza, with activities related to the Don Chuy organization, and
    who was arrested this morning.

    The 11 defendants arrested today in the Los Angeles and Inland Empire regions
    made their initial appearances in United States District Court in Los Angeles,
    where a federal magistrate ordered them held without bond. Their arraignments
    have been scheduled for April 19.

    A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a
    crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.
    The case against the members of the Don Chuy Drug Trafficking
    Organization is the result of an investigation conducted by the Southern California
    Drug Task Force, which includes special agents with the Federal Bureau of
    Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The investigation received
    substantial assistance from IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Regional
    Methamphetamine Task Force, the Inland Crackdown Narcotics Alliance, the
    Fontana Police Department, the Downey Police Department, and the Los Angeles
    Police Department. The Southern California Drug Task Force operates within the
    High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program, which is designed to
    enhance and coordinate efforts among local, state and federal law enforcement
    agencies.

    “The organization targeted today is believed to be responsible for bringing
    more than 200 pounds of meth into Southern California every month – enough
    meth to supply thousands of people with this highly addictive and dangerous drug”
    said Timothy J. Landrum, DEA Special Agent in Charge in Los Angeles. “Today’s
    operation is an example of the significant results that are achieved through the
    cooperation of local, state and federal law enforcement within the HIDTA task
    force.”

    Steven M. Martinez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles,
    stated: “The FBI has successfully worked with partners locally, federally and
    internationally to address the increases in southwest border violence, much of
    which is fueled by the importation of narcotics to Southern California for
    distribution around the United States. Dismantling the leadership of criminal
    enterprises like the Don Chuy Organization will significantly disrupt their
    large-scale methamphetamine distribution operation and have a positive impact on
    the Los Angeles region.”

    Leslie P. DeMarco, Special Agent in Charge of IRS - Criminal Investigation’s
    Los Angeles Field Office, observed: “Methamphetamine and the dealers who
    traffic it are hurting our communities. In conjunction with our law enforcement
    partners on the federal, state, and local level, we are committed to task force
    investigations that make takedown operations like today’s search warrants and
    arrest of members of the Don Chuy Drug Trafficking Organization possible. IRS -
    Criminal Investigation plays a unique role in federal law enforcement’s
    counter-drug effort because we target the profit and financial gains of narcotics
    traffickers, enabling increased criminal prosecutions and asset forfeitures.”
    In addition to the FBI, the DEA and IRS-Criminal Investigation, the following
    agencies participated in this morning’s takedown: the Regional Methamphetamine
    Task Force, the Inland Crackdown Narcotics Alliance, the Fontana Police
    Department, the Downey Police Department, the Los Angeles Police Department,
    the United States Marshals Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,
    the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the California Highway Patrol, the
    Hawthorne Police Department, the Inland Regional Narcotics Enforcement Team
    (IRNET), the California Methamphetamine Task Force (CALMET), the United
    States Secret Service, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, and the Riverside
    Sheriff’s Department.

    #####

    Release No. 10-056

    Return to the 2010 Press Release Index