One Defendant Sentenced, 2 More Plead Guilty in Large-Scale Sacramento-Area Cocaine and Heroin Trafficking Conspiracies
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — One defendant was sentenced and two others pleaded guilty today for their participation in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin in the Eastern District of California, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
On June 3, 2021, a federal grand jury returned a 45-count indictment against 15 individuals for offenses related to a conspiracy to traffic cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin. Today, Charles Carter, 36, of Sacramento, was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison for a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of cocaine. Arlington Caine, 48, of Rio Linda, and Andre Hellams, 40, of North Highlands, each pleaded guilty to two counts of using a cellphone to facilitate a drug trafficking offense.
According to court documents, Carter, Hellams, and Caine are among the 15 federal defendants arrested in 2021 for trafficking narcotics as part of a DEA-led multi-agency operation targeting cocaine and heroin traffickers in North Sacramento. Specifically, Carter was intercepted during a 30-day wiretap trafficking kilograms of cocaine, kilograms of heroin, and methamphetamine pills. Carter was also intercepted planning to rob another heroin dealer of 3 kilograms of heroin worth $75,000. Hellams was intercepted on the wiretap arranging to obtain and sell over 630 grams of cocaine. Caine was intercepted on the wiretap arranging to obtain and sell over 40 grams of crack cocaine and over 110 grams of powder cocaine.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the California Department of Justice, the California Highway Patrol, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, and the Sacramento Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cameron L. Desmond and Aaron D. Pennekamp are prosecuting the case.
Caine and Hellams are scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 9, 2023 by U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley. They face a maximum statutory penalty of eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentences, 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.
On Sept. 29, 2022, Jason Tolbert, 45, of Sacramento, was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison for possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
On July 22, 2022, Michael Hampton, 57, of Vallejo, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of cocaine. Hampton is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 8, 2022.
Charges are pending against the following defendants: Tyrone Anderson, 40, of Sacramento; Maurice Bryant, 51, of Antelope; Yovanny Ontiveros, 41, of Sacramento; Alex White, 61, of North Highlands; Steven Hampton, 61, of Sacramento; Wilmer Harden, 52, of Elk Grove; Bobby Conner, 50, of Sacramento; Jerome Adams, 54, of North Highlands; Dwight Haney, 49, of Sacramento; and Mark Martin, 62, of Sacramento. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This prosecution is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Strike Force Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. The Sacramento Strike Force is a co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations. The specific mission of the Sacramento Strike Force is to identify, investigate, disrupt, and dismantle the most significant drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) and transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) shipping narcotics, firearms, and money through the Eastern District of California, thereby reducing the flow of these criminal resources in California and the rest of the United States. The Sacramento Strike Force leads intelligence-driven investigations targeting the leadership and support elements of these DTOs and TCOs operating within the Eastern District of California, regardless of their geographic base of operations.