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Press Release

Mexican National Indicted For Drug Trafficking And Firearm Possession

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment today against Arturo Zavaleta, 39, of Mexico, charging him with trafficking in heroin, methamphetamine, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime, United States Attorney McGregor Scott announced. 

According to court documents, on June 3, 2019, DEA agents served a search warrant at Zavaleta’s residence in Turlock, California. During a search of the master bedroom, agents discovered heroin, methamphetamine, and three firearms. The home was outfitted with a surveillance camera. In the backyard, agents found approximately 200 marijuana plants and approximately 300 apparent opium poppy bulbs.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Sacramento Drug Enforcement Administration and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Assistant United States Attorneys Jason Hitt, Amanda Beck, Ross Pearson, and David Spencer are prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Zavaleta faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to life in prison and a $10,000,000 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 defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). 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.

Updated June 21, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 2:19-cr-110 MCE