San Joaquin County Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for International Drug-Trafficking Conspiracy
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb sentenced Francisco Felix, 45, of Mountain House, to 20 years in prison for his role in leading a large, multi-defendant drug-trafficking conspiracy that moved significant quantities of methamphetamine from Mexico into California and throughout the United States, and that controlled at least three large marijuana grows in the Central Valley of California, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
U.S. Attorney Scott stated: “This defendant coordinated the smuggling of vast amounts of methamphetamine from Mexico into the United States and facilitated their distribution throughout the Central Valley. Through hard work and coordination with our many law enforcement partners, we were able to bring Felix to justice. We are committed to continuing the fight against large-scale drug trafficking enterprises and will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”
On August 7, 2017, a federal jury convicted Felix of one count of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine, one count of conspiring to manufacture and distribute marijuana, and three counts of using a cellphone to facilitate a drug trafficking crime.
On February 13, 2014, Felix and 13 other defendants were charged with a number of drug-trafficking crimes. Felix is the only defendant to go to trial; 10 co-defendants pleaded guilty and three are fugitives.
This case arose from a year-long investigation that revealed a drug-trafficking organization with connections to the state of Sinaloa in Mexico. The organization was based in the Central Valley of California, and actively imported large amounts of methamphetamine into the United States. Evidence at trial established that Felix and his network were capable of importing 50 pounds of methamphetamine (with a wholesale value of approximately $200,000) into the United States every eight days.
In addition, the evidence at trial established that the organization was cultivating substantial quantities of marijuana at many properties in both Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.
Over nine months, investigators acquired over 80 pounds of methamphetamine, approximately 20 pounds of marijuana, and six firearms, including three assault rifles and a “Desert Eagle” .50-caliber handgun, from members of the organization. Finally, on the day of Felix’s arrest, investigators seized over 2,100 marijuana plants at properties under Felix’s control.
This case is the product of an investigation by the California Department of Justice’s Mountain and Valley Marijuana Investigation Team (MAVMIT), under the auspices of the Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the Placer County District Attorney’s Office; the Placer County Special Investigations Unit (SIU); the Sheriff’s Departments from Placer, El Dorado and Sacramento Counties; the California Department of Fish and Wildlife; the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; the California National Guard, Counterdrug Task Force; and the Yolo Narcotic Enforcement Team (YONET). In addition, at the conclusion of the investigation, hundreds of law enforcement officers from several states took part in a 28-location takedown.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin Lee and Michael Beckwith prosecuted the case.
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.