Operation Fraud Street Mafia Results Announced: Nine Arrested for Drug Trafficking and Committing More Than $550 Million in Attempted Tax Fraud
FRESNO, Calif. — Alberto Gomez-Santiago, 37, a Mexican national residing in Arvin, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, in March 2021, Gomez delivered for distribution 26 pounds of methamphetamine to co-defendants Jorge Calderon-Campos, 42, a Mexican national residing in Bakersfield, and Mark Garcia, 23, of Bakersfield. Law enforcement officers later seized the drug from Garcia’s vehicle during a traffic stop.
According to court documents, the transaction was one of many involving Calderon-Campos, who was the target of a wiretap investigation that resulted in the seizure of more than 86 pounds of methamphetamine and 1 kilogram of heroin. The wiretap investigation also uncovered an illegal cockfighting enterprise involving Calderon-Campos, who is charged in a separate indictment with violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
This case is the product of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and the Drug Enforcement Administration with assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Secret Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Kern County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the California Highway Patrol, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Kern County Sheriff's Office, the Kern County Probation Department, and the Bakersfield Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Escobar is prosecuting the case.
Gomez is scheduled for sentencing by U.S. District Judge Jennifer L. Thurston on Nov. 6, 2023. Gomez faces a mandatory statutory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison, and a fine of up to $10 million. 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.
Calderon-Campos, Garcia, and four other defendants are currently scheduled for status conferences on Sept. 20, 2023 in the related drug and Animal Welfare Act cases. The charges against them are only allegations; they are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
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.