14 Indicted In Major Central Valley-Based Drug Trafficking Ring
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a 32-count indictment today against Francisco Felix, 40, of Mountain House; Alejandro Martinez, 25, of Patterson; Miguel Felix, 34, of Ceres; Martin Lopez, 48, of Rosemead; Gerardo Barraza, 19, of Stockton; Rafael Alcauter, 49, of Newman; Ramon Diaz, 33, of Ceres; Raul Rangel, 41, of San Jose; Sergio Modesto, 34, of Turlock; Martin Rubio, 49, of Stockton; and Patterson residents Leonaires Alcauter, 48, Alfonso Magana, 52, Antonio Ramirez, 35, and Augustin Ramirez, 62, charging them with a variety of federal drug offenses, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
Combinations of these defendants were charged variously with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine; conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute marijuana; conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine; distribution of methamphetamine; manufacture of marijuana; and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
This case arose from a year-long narcotics investigation that revealed a drug trafficking organization with connections to the Sinaloa Drug Cartel in Mexico was based in the Central Valley of California, and importing large amounts of methamphetamine and cocaine into the United States. The drug trafficking organization subsequently distributed those narcotics throughout California and the United States. In addition, the investigation revealed that the organization was cultivating marijuana at numerous properties in both Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, which it similarly distributed throughout California and the United States.
“Through our joint enforcement efforts, we’ve dismantled a criminal organization that posed a serious public safety threat, as evidenced by the weapons and drugs seized during the course of this case,” said Dan Lane, assistant special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Sacramento. “The arrests and resulting indictments in this investigation have disrupted a potentially deadly supply chain and prevented an untold volume of dangerous drugs from reaching our streets.”
Over the last nine months, investigators acquired over 70 pounds of methamphetamine, approximately three pounds of high-grade marijuana, and six firearms, including three assault-style rifles and a .50-caliber handgun, from members of the organization. Moreover, an additional 10 pounds of methamphetamine were seized by law enforcement from a member’s Los Angeles area residence on December 9, 2013.
This case was the product of an investigation by the California Department of Justice’s Mountain and Valley Marijuana Investigation Team under the auspices of the Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Placer County District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Departments from Placer, El Dorado and Sacramento counties; the California Department of Fish and Wildlife; and the California National Guard Joint Task Force Domestic Support-Counterdrug.
If convicted of the charged offenses, the defendants face a minimum of five years up to life in prison, as well as a fine of up to $10 million. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.