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Press Release

Mexican National Pleads Guilty to 15-Pound Methamphetamine Deal in Kern County

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

FRESNO, Calif. — Oscar Ivan Salazar-Avalos, 28, a citizen of Mexico, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, Salazar and his co-defendant Jose Manuel Sotelo-Mendoza, 26, of Ceres, delivered 15 pounds of methamphetamine to an undercover officer in Delano after Salazar negotiated with the officer to sell the drug for $3,400 per pound. In pleading guilty, Salazar acknowledged that he and Sotelo had met his source of supply in Castaic in the northern part of Los Angeles County to obtain the 15 pounds of methamphetamine. In addition, Salazar indicated that they intended to make $51,000 on the deal.

Salazar is scheduled for sentencing on February 19, 2019, before U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd. Salazar faces a minimum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison, along with a $10 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will 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.

Charges are pending against Sotelo. The charges against him are only allegations; he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, consisting of law enforcement officers of Homeland Security Investigations, California Highway Patrol, Bureau of Investigation of the California Department of Justice, Fresno Police Department, and Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen A. Escobar is prosecuting the case.

Updated November 26, 2018

Press Release Number: 1:17-cr-171 DAD