LOS ANGELES – A Calabasas man who allegedly ran a drug trafficking operation that provided by car same-day delivery of cocaine and fentanyl-laced oxycodone, including to one victim who died last year from a fentanyl overdose, was arraigned today on narcotics charges in federal court.
Erick Oved Estrada, 35, a.k.a. “Franco Sanchez” and “Eric Freddy Hook,” who allegedly ran the narcotics delivery driver business out of his home, was arrested Tuesday along with three other defendants, including his wife – all of whom were arraigned this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.
Also arrested Tuesday were:
- Arian Alani, 34, of Burbank, who, along with Estrada, allegedly distributed the fentanyl that led to the victim’s fatal overdose in June 2022;
- Gilberto Marquez, 34, of Woodland Hills, an alleged lieutenant in the drug trafficking operation; and
- Zoila Michelle Estrada, 36, of Calabasas, Erick Estrada’s wife.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges against them and a January 16, 2024 trial date was scheduled. A federal magistrate judge ordered all four defendants detained.
Law enforcement continues to search for defendants Tomas Marquez-Ruiz, 37, a.k.a. “El Cafecito,” of Chatsworth, another alleged lieutenant in the drug trafficking operation, and Caseya Chanel Brown, 39, a.k.a. “Mom,” of Woodland Hills, an alleged delivery driver in the drug trafficking operation.
According to the 18-count indictment returned November 15 and unsealed today, from May 2019 to June 2022, Erick Estrada obtained narcotics, including cocaine and purported oxycodone pills that actually contained fentanyl. Erick Estrada, Marquez-Ruiz, and Marquez then allegedly provided these drugs to a network of drug delivery drivers, including Brown and other co-conspirators, for further distribution to customers or other drug distributors. Brown and others directly provided the drugs to customers or distributors and collected payment.
On June 8, 2022, Erick Estrada allegedly sold 25 oxycodone pills to Alani and a delivery driver then provided to Alani the purported oxycodone pills, which in fact contained fentanyl. The following day, Alani allegedly sold some of the fentanyl-laced pills to the victim, identified in the indictment as “C.N.,” who ingested them and died of a drug overdose.
On June 10, 2022, Alani confronted Erick Estrada via text message and wrote, “my boy just died yesterday” – a reference to C.N. – and that Estrada “[s]houldn’t be selling [expletive] with fentanyl.”
Erick and Zoila Estrada laundered the drug proceeds through his sham businesses’ bank accounts, where they used the money for various personal expenses, including luxury vehicles such as a Lamborghini and a Land Rover, the indictment alleges.
Erick Estrada, Marquez-Ruiz, Marquez, and Brown are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances resulting in death and one count of distribution of cocaine. Erick Estrada also is charged with two additional counts of distribution of cocaine, one count of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death, and 11 counts of money laundering. Alani is charged with one count of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death. Zoila Estrada is charged with one count of money laundering.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
If convicted of all charges, Erick Estrada, Marquez-Ruiz, Marquez, Brown, and Alani would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment. If convicted, Zoila Estrada would face up to 10 years in federal prison.
The Drug Enforcement Administration and IRS Criminal Investigation are investigating this matter. The DEA Overdose Justice Task Froce, the Simi Valley Police Department, the Burbank Police Department, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department provided assistance.
Assistant United States Attorney MiRi Song of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section is prosecuting this case.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.