Central Valley Drug Trafficking Group Indicted
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a 22-count indictment Thursday against 13 defendants from Sacramento, Delano (Kern Co.) and Phoenix, Arizona, charging them with illegally trafficking large amounts of methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
The defendants named in the indictment are:
Jose Manuel Valdez Torres, 39, fugitive, of Delano/Phoenix;
Roberto Gomez Jr., 25, of Antelope;
Leonel Valdez Ayon, aka Leonel Valdez Gonzalez, 27, of Delano;
Leobardo Martinez-Carranza, 22, of Delano;
Edgar Eduardo Herrera, 21, fugitive, of Delano;
Enrique Alonso Valdez Yanez, 38, fugitive, of Mexico;
Jason Duane Rogers, 43, of Citrus Heights;
Shannon Anthony Armstrong, 40, of El Dorado Hills;
Bradley Gene Ward, 36, of Carmichael;
David Andrews Uhrig, 44, of Orangevale;
William James Welch, 53, of Citrus Heights;
Michael William McGibbon, 39, of Citrus Heights, and
Jesus Hunberto Zurita Sicairos, 26, of Phoenix, Arizona.
According to court documents, an investigation indicated that Valdez Torres was arranging to smuggle multi-kilogram quantities of methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine from Mexico into the United States. Once here, the drugs were stored at stash houses in Delano, Sacramento, and Phoenix. The drugs were then sold in ounce and pound quantities to various distributors. On June 24-26, 2015, in a coordinated law enforcement operation, search warrants for 11 residences were executed (three in Delano, eight in the Sacramento area, and one in Phoenix) and 10 individuals were arrested. Over 50 pounds of methamphetamine, a kilogram of heroin, smaller amounts of cocaine and marijuana, and over $275,000 in cash were seized. Numerous firearms were also seized. Gomez, Ward and Welch are each charged with illegal possession of firearms.
This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Kern County Sheriff’s Office, the Central Valley HIDTA, the Sacramento Sheriff’s Office, the Folsom Police Department, the Citrus Heights Police Department the Arizona HIDTA Initiative, the Maricopa County Drug Suppression Task Force, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, the police departments of Tempe, Phoenix, Surprise, and Buckeye, the US Border Patrol, the Phoenix DO Enforcement Group, and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Tactical Operations Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Highsmith is prosecuting the case.
All defendants are named in the first count of the indictment which charges conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with the intent to distribute, methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine. If convicted on this count, they each face a statutory maximum penalty of life in prison and a $5 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.
This case was investigated and prosecuted under Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Program. The OCDETF Program was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.