News and Press Releases

First Two Operation Garlic Press Defendants Sentenced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 8, 2012

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Yesterday, two Operation Garlic Press defendants were each sentenced to twenty years in federal prison, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Acting Special Agent in Charge Scot Thomasson, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Adrian Gamino, 31, of Morgan Hill, Calif., who pled guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A)(viii); one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846; and one count of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B)(viii) was sentenced by Judge Lucy Koh to 20 years in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release. In addition, he forfeited his 2006 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck and $4,862 to the United States government.

Miguel Gonzalez, 37, of Salinas, Calif., who pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846; two counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B)(viii); and one count of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A)(viii) was also sentenced by Judge Koh to 20 years in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release.

Operation Garlic Press was a multi-agency law enforcement initiative conducted in Gilroy, Calif., that resulted in the arrest of more than one hundred individuals for their alleged roles in distributing narcotics, firearms and stolen vehicles. In March, 2010, ATF began the undercover operation with the Gilroy Police Department and the California Highway Patrol, targeting individuals who commit violent criminal acts, including gang members. The investigation focused on individuals operating in the California counties of Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito. Prosecutors from the United States Attorney’s Office and the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office, working together, charged a total of 118 defendants. The federal operation’s primary objective was to target subjects who traffic in firearms and narcotics, primarily methamphetamine, while the state focused primarily on vehicles which had been stolen or were the subject of insurance fraud. Among the contraband seized were 86 vehicles; 52 firearms (including several sawed off shotguns, stolen firearms, and firearms with obliterated serial numbers) and methamphetamine, much of which was extremely pure (some100% pure), with a street value of more than $100,000. To date, 46 defendants have been charged federally. Nine, including Gamino and Gonzalez, have pled guilty.

Thomas O’Connell and Daniel Kaleba are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the cases with the assistance of Tracey Andersen and Nina Williams. The prosecution is the result of a one and a-half year investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Gilroy Police Department.

In addition to the ATF and the Gilroy Police Department, the following agencies provided support to this investigation: the California Highway Patrol; Salinas Police Department; Morgan Hill Police Department; Monterey County Sheriff’s Office; auto theft task forces from Monterey County, Santa Cruz County and Santa Clara County; the National Insurance Crime Bureau; the Western States Information Network; the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force; the United States Marshal’s Service; and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

 

 

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