FRESNO, Calif. — Antonio Castellanos, 38, of Whittier, was sentenced today to nine years in prison for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine from Mexico destined for Modesto, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, Castellanos and co-defendants Genaro Serrato-Calles, 49; Antonio Valencia-Hernandez, 66, both of Michoacán, Mexico; and Jose Reyes-Pineda, 49, of Anaheim were charged with conspiring over a two-year period to distribute methamphetamine in Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties. Castellanos worked with individuals in Mexico to distribute methamphetamine in the United States and, on one occasion, coordinating the shipment of over 20 pounds of crystal methamphetamine to Serrato-Calles in Modesto.
“Violent drug traffickers continue to seek new ways to smuggle methamphetamine into the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Talbert. “This sentence demonstrates the commitment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners to work together to prevent this deadly drug from reaching the streets. Prosecuting methamphetamine traffickers remains a top priority for our office.”
“Castellanos’ actions allowed large amounts of methamphetamine to make its way from Mexico to the Central Valley and today’s sentencing ensures the defendant will serve a lengthy prison sentence for his role,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Wade R. Shannon. “DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively target all those involved in the distribution chain of this poison in our communities.”
“ATF is focused on working assiduously to honor our commitment to the cities we serve,” said Special Agent in Charge Patrick Gorman, San Francisco Field Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). “Our mission is to protect the public, and the focus of this joint task force is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States. ATF works alongside our law enforcement partners to fulfill the goals of Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces. This case is a result of those unified efforts. ATF will continue to work diligently with our partners to dismantle criminal organizations.”
The sentencing of Castellanos sends a message to anyone who deals in illicit narcotics that drug traffickers will be held accountable,” said Tatum King, Homeland Security Investigations special agent in charge, San Francisco. “We’re thankful for our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office who help bring individuals like Castellanos to justice and hold them accountable in our courts.”
Serrato-Calles and Valencia-Hernandez were each sentenced to 12 years in prison. Reyes-Pineda was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations, the Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) task force, the San Joaquin County Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force, the Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Special Investigations Bureau. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Escobar prosecuted the case.
This effort was 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.