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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 11, 2022

Kings County Norteno Gang Member Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Methamphetamine Sales

FRESNO, Calif. — Manuel Garcia, 35, of Armona, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd to 15 years in prison for conspiring to sell over 500 grams of methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

Garcia was arrested as part of Operation Red Reaper, a federal, state, and local law enforcement operation targeted at dismantling the criminal activities of the Norteno Street Gang and Nuestra Familia Prison Gang in the counties of Kings and Tulare. The operation resulted in the arrests of over 50 individuals. Federal charges were brought against 23 defendants, including Garcia.

According to court documents, Garcia had previously sustained a federal conviction for trafficking methamphetamine and was sentenced to nine years in prison. Just months after his release in 2019, he conspired with other Norteno street gang members to possess and distribute pounds of methamphetamine. Gang members supplied him with methamphetamine, and he agreed to sell the drugs and pay a portion of the proceeds back to the gang. In May 2019, investigators obtained information that Garcia had picked up over a pound of methamphetamine from a co‑conspirator. Officers performed a traffic stop on a car that Garcia was driving, searched the car, and found the methamphetamine. He was arrested, charged, and pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge in April 2022.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Kings County Gang Task Force, the Special Operations Unit of the California Department of Justice and the California Highway Patrol, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the Kings County District Attorney's Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin J. Gilio, Kimberly A. Sanchez, and Jessica A. Massey are prosecuting the case.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated July 11, 2022