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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 26, 2017

Fourteen Federal Defendants Indicted for Drugs and Firearms Offenses

Over 50 Arrested in Merced County Gang Enforcement Action on May 10, 2017

FRESNO, Calif. — Following a multi-agency investigation in Merced County that focused on crimes of violence, drug sales, and illegal firearms possession, 14 federal defendants were indicted on Thursday for drug trafficking and firearms offenses, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to the criminal complaint, in December 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies began targeting gang members associated with Sureno criminal street gangs in Merced County. Information leading to the arrests was gathered using undercover buys of firearms and narcotics, surveillance and other investigative tools. On May 10, 2017, nearly 500 federal, state and local law enforcement personnel executed search warrants and arrested more than 50 criminal street gang members.

Most defendants face state charges. The following were arrested on federal charges and indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday:

  • Robert James Guthrie, 22, of Atwater, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of cocaine, conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license, and possession of an unregistered firearm.

  • Andres Corona Prado, 28, of Hughson, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license, and being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.

  • Joseph Quirarte, 21, of Atwater, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, and conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license.

  • Francisco Salgado, 25, of Stevinson, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, attempted possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

  • Marcos Hernandez, 33, of Winton, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

  • Raul Zamudio Hurtado Jr., 34, of Oakdale, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

  • Orasio Fierro, 25, of Winton, is charged with distribution of cocaine, conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of an unregistered firearm.

  • Jose Rodriguez 34, of Atwater, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, and distribution of cocaine.

  • Zeb Stevens, 37, of Atwater, is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

  • Vincent Michael Williams, 28 of Atwater, is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

  • Abraham Sigala, 20, of Atwater, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine.

  • Daniel Garcia, 21, Atwater, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

  • Carlos Arauza-Parga, 26, of Atwater, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

  • Joshua Lacey, 35, of Atwater, is charged with possession of an unregistered firearm.

    This case was the product of an investigation by the FBI, ATF, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Merced Area Gang and Narcotic Enforcement Team (MAGNET), and the California Department of Justice/California Highway Patrol, Special Operations Unit (CA DOJ/CHP SOU). Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly A. Sanchez and Ross Pearson are prosecuting the case.

    If convicted, of the conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, the maximum statutory penalty is 10 years in prison and a $10 million fine. The statutory penalty for distribution of methamphetamine is a minimum of 10 years in prison to a maximum of life in prison and a $10 million fine. The maximum penalty for distribution of cocaine is 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The maximum penalty for conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a license is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for possession of an unregistered firearm is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for being a felon in possession of a firearm or being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 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.

 

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 
1:17-cr-135 LJO
Updated May 26, 2017