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Press Release

Three Mexican Nationals Indicted for Trafficking Methamphetamine and Heroin in Tehama County

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned an eight-count indictment today against Miguel Alverez Cervantes, 53, Maria Cervantes-Echevarria, 34, and Marta Jiminez Lopez, 26, all Mexican nationals living in Los Molinos, charging them with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possessing methamphetamine and heroin for distribution, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced. The indictment also charges Cervantes-Echevarria and Lopez with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.

According to court documents, Maria Cervantes-Echevarria and Marta Lopez used their home in Los Molinos as a stash location for narcotics, firearms, and cash. Court records allege that in January 2018, the two women delivered a spare tire to a third party that was later found to contain approximately 22 pounds of methamphetamine. In addition, an undercover agent purchased over three pounds of methamphetamine from Miguel Cervantes during three controlled buys in August and September 2018. When agents searched Cervantes-Echevarria and Lopez’s home on September 17, 2018, they found three handguns and over $44,000 in cash in the master bedroom. Agents found over 34 pounds of methamphetamine, three pounds of heroin, and an AR-15-style rifle elsewhere on the property.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Land Management, the Tehama Interagency Drug Enforcement (TIDE) task force, the Shasta Interagency Narcotics Task Force (SINTF), and the Siskiyou Unified Major Investigations Team (SUMIT), with special assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the California Highway Patrol. 

If convicted of the conspiracy charge or any of the narcotics charges, each defendant faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, and a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine. If convicted of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug‑trafficking crime, Cervantes-Echevarria and Lopez each face a mandatory five-year term in prison, which would run consecutive to any other sentence imposed in this case. Any sentence 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 several variables. These charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated April 30, 2021

Drug Trafficking