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Press Release

Kern County Man Charged in Operation Red Reaper Sentenced to over 11 Years in Prison for Methamphetamine Distribution

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

FRESNO, Calif. — Ernesto Zibray, 34, of Delano, was sentenced today to 11 years and three months in prison for distribution of over 500 grams of methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Zibray was charged as part of Operation Red Reaper, a multi-agency operation that resulted in three federal cases charging a total of 23 individuals. The months-long investigation uncovered evidence that the Nuestra Familia prison gang and its associates were responsible for large-scale trafficking of methamphetamine and other controlled substances, as well as various firearms offenses and other violent crimes in Kings and Tulare Counties.

On May 6, 2019, Zibray, who was on probation for another drug trafficking offense, distributed 2 pounds of methamphetamine to a co-defendant in Delano. Moments later, investigators conducted a traffic stop on the car in which the co-defendant was traveling, searched the car, and found the methamphetamine.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Kings County Gang Task Force, the California Department of Justice, the California Highway Patrol, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, and the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin J. Gilio prosecuted the case.

This case is 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 U.S. Department of Justice 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 July 10, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking