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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 28, 2022

Coachella Valley Drug Dealer Sentenced to Almost 22 Years in Federal Prison for Distributing Methamphetamine

          LOS ANGELES – A Palm Springs man with a long criminal record and who previously claimed to have led a Coachella Valley street gang was sentenced today to 260 months in federal prison after admitting he sold distribution quantities of methamphetamine on five occasions.

          Efrain Chavez, 37, whose street moniker is “Chino,” was sentenced by United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer. Chavez pleaded guilty in November to five counts of distributing methamphetamine.

          When he pleaded guilty, Chavez admitted selling a total of 2.88 kilograms (about 6.3 pounds) of methamphetamine during five transactions in 2019. The sales took place in parking lots in Cathedral City, Palm Springs, and Colton.

          When he was arrested in this case in November 2019, Chavez was in possession of another 2.2 kilograms (nearly 5 pounds) of methamphetamine.

          Chavez has a criminal history that goes back 19 years and includes five prior felony convictions, prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum that noted at one time Chavez was the “self-proclaimed leader of the Barrio San Rafael street gang.”

          Chavez conducted the methamphetamine sales while on probation for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

          “Earlier sentences have not deterred [Chavez] from becoming a career offender, including multiple two-year sentences and a five-year sentence,” according to the sentencing memo. “Even being on supervision did not stop defendant from committing five felonies here.”

          Once he completes the prison sentenced, Chavez will be on supervised release for an additional 10 years.

          Homeland Security Investigations led the investigation into Chavez under the umbrella of the Riverside County Gang Impact Team, which also includes representatives of the Palm Springs Police Department.

          Assistant United States Attorney Eli A. Alcaraz of the Riverside Branch Office prosecuted this matter.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Contact: 
Thom Mrozek Director of Media Relations thom.mrozek@usdoj.gov (213) 894-6947
Press Release Number: 
22-058
Updated March 28, 2022