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Press Release

Two California Men Sentenced to Prison for Drug Trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Two men from Santa Ana, California, have been sentenced to multiple years in prison for trafficking narcotics to Central Illinois. Cesar Lopez Reyes, 21, and Angel Tovar, 22, were each charged with conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

According to court documents and information presented at public court hearings, the two men had been using social media to conduct a mail-order drug business, which distributed illegal narcotics via the U.S. Mail across the country to Nevada, Oregon, North Carolina, Kentucky, and to multiple places in Illinois. Tovar conducted sales and Lopez Reyes assisted in shipping the illegal substances. The United States Postal Inspection Service and the Illinois State Police West Central Illinois Task Force opened an investigation into the duo after intercepting a package containing methamphetamine, cocaine, and counterfeit pills bound for Adams County, Illinois. The two men were arrested at their residences in Orange County, California. At Tovar’s home, law enforcement recovered an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

Lopez Reyes was sentenced on August 30, 2023, to 60 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Tovar was sentenced on October 3, 2023, to 120 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release. At both hearings, U.S. District Judge Colleen R. Lawless noted that while neither man had any criminal convictions, each had committed a very serious offense.

Lopez Reyes pleaded guilty on April 25, 2023, and Tovar pleaded guilty on May 10, 2023.

“The distribution of illegal drugs, including methamphetamine and counterfeit pills, via social media is happening nationwide, and young adults are particularly susceptible to this type of marketing,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah E. Seberger. “Our law enforcement partners’ work to stem this tide of illegal drug sales is vitally important to protect public safety. Counterfeit pills also are often not what they appear to be, exacerbating this danger of these sales and leading to potential overdoses. We are grateful for federal and local law enforcements’ combined efforts on this case.”

“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is committed to dismantling drug trafficking operations to keep USPS customers and employees safe from drug traffickers who favor profit over human lives,” stated Inspector in Charge Ruth M. Mendonça of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Chicago Division. “This case is an example of the dedication of the Inspection Service and its law enforcement partners to prevent the shipping of illegal narcotics through the U.S. Mail, which not only endangers the public but also places USPS employees at risk. I appreciate the efforts by all of our law enforcement partners in this case.”

“FBI Springfield and our law enforcement partners have one common goal – the safety of the citizens we have sworn to protect. Removing dangerous drugs and drug dealers off the streets demonstrates our commitment to that goal and holds narcotic traffickers accountable for their actions, no matter what state they reside in,” said FBI Springfield Field Office Acting Special Agent in Charge Shannon Fontenot. “As our commitment is ongoing, the FBI will remain vigilant, continuing to identify and investigate those engaged in the illegal acquisition and distribution of controlled substances.”

The Illinois State Police West Central Illinois Task Force; the United States Postal Inspection Service; the Quincy Police Department; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Field Office, investigated the case with valuable assistance from the Santa Ana Police Department. Assistance was also provided by the Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office.  AUSA Seberger represented the government in the prosecution.

The cases against Lopez Reyes and Tovar are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

Updated October 11, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking