Inland Empire Man Arrested Pursuant to Federal Indictment Alleging International Methamphetamine Trafficking Operation
LOS ANGELES – An Ontario man was arrested today for allegedly playing a key role in an international drug-trafficking organization that was responsible for shipping more than 1,000 pounds of methamphetamine across the globe.
Jorge Gomez Torres, 66, was named in an eight-count indictment that was unsealed this afternoon when he arrived at United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles for an arraignment. The indictment charges Torres with three counts – one count of drug trafficking and two counts of money laundering. Torres pleaded not guilty to the charges. A January 28 trial date has been scheduled in this matter.
Torres – who was also known as “the Filipino,” among other aliases – allegedly coordinated drug shipments to the Philippines, and from there methamphetamine was illegally imported into the United States. On Christmas Day in 2013, law enforcement seized approximately 84 kilograms (185 pounds) of methamphetamine from a rooster ranch Torres owned in the Philippines.
In shipping the methamphetamine around the globe, the criminal organization employed a variety of means to conceal the contraband. Members of the conspiracy used shell companies to obtain shipping documents that were used to send drugs to countries such as the Philippines to Australia. The methamphetamine was often hidden in machinery, including an industrial asphalt roller that was recovered in Manzanillo, Mexico and computer equipment that was seized in Memphis, Tennessee.
The indictment charges a total of 17 defendants, most of whom are fugitives believed to be in Mexico.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine carries a statutory maximum sentence of life and a mandatory minimum of 10 years in federal prison. The money laundering offenses each carry a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison.
This matter is being investigated by the DEA. This investigation is being conducted with the support of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Alexander B. Schwab of the Major Frauds Section and Ben Balding of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section.