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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 16, 2020

Operators of Large-Scale Drug Trafficking Organization in Kern County Face Federal Charges

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned three indictments against nine individuals on Thursday, charging the defendants with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine in Kern County, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

The first indictment charges Miguel Zuniga Arteaga, 41, of Delano; Armando Martinez, 60, of Los Angeles; Terry Whited, 37, of Idaho; Miguel Angel Sanchez-Meza, 48, of Mexico; Juan Vizuett-Resendiz, 34, of Texas; and Vincente Salvador Arenas-Garcia, 36, of Bakersfield, with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine,

According to court documents, between Aug. 9, 2017, and Nov. 10, 2020, these defendants conspired to distribute methamphetamine in Kern County and elsewhere. During the course of this investigation, law enforcement obtained court-authorized wiretaps and seized over 44 pounds (20 kilograms) of methamphetamine, approximately $259,840 in purported narcotics proceeds, and seven firearms.

The second indictment charges Miguel Zuniga Arteaga, 41, of Delano; Armando Martinez, 60, of Chino Hills; and Rene Zepeda Felix, 36, of Bakersfield, with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. According to court documents, between Aug. 9, 2017, and Oct. 27, 2017, these defendants conspired to distribute methamphetamine in Kern County and elsewhere.

The third indictment charges Jose Eden Landeros, 40, and Israel Munguia-Munoz, 40, both of Mexico, with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. According to court documents, between Nov. 13, 2017, and June 1, 2018, these defendants conspired to distribute methamphetamine in Kern County and elsewhere.

These cases are the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, and the Kern County Probation Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Angela Scott and Jessica Massey are prosecuting the cases.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $10 million 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 defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF is the largest anticrime task force in the country, and its mission is to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug trafficking and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States. The prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi‑agency task forces leverage the authorities and expertise of federal, state, and local law enforcement.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated November 16, 2020