Arrests Made as Multi State Drug Trafficking Organization Is Dismantled
FRESNO, Calif. — Six members of a drug trafficking organization were arrested this week as part of a multi-agency investigation, which included the seizure of multiple pounds of methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine in the Central Valley, Alaska, and Tacoma, Washington, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
The arrests and seizures relate to an indictment returned by a federal grand jury on April 5, 2018, charging members of a multistate drug trafficking organization with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, including methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin. The seizures this week included 45 pounds of methamphetamine, four pounds of heroin and three pounds of cocaine.
Indicted members of the drug trafficking organization include Alecia Trapps, 54, of Manteca; Jimmy Brantley, 40, of Manteca; Carmen Conejo, 51, of Long Beach; Ernest Westley, 60, of Modesto; Sheena Taylor, 41, of Modesto; and Joseph Vasquez, Jr., 32, of Modesto.
According to court documents, between January 1, 2015, and April 11, 2018, the defendants conspired to distribute controlled substances such as methamphetamine, heroin, or cocaine in Modesto and in Juneau, Alaska.
This case is the product of a year-long investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Central Valley Gang Impact Task Force, Modesto Police Department, Manteca Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Department (Washington), Pierce County Sheriff’s Department (Washington), and Juneau Police Department (Alaska). Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melanie L. Alsworth and Laurel J. Montoya are prosecuting the case.
If convicted, the defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison, and a $10 million fine. 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.