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Justice News

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

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Two Indicted for Arranging the Shipment of over 400 Pounds of Marijuana to Kansas City, Missouri

Cocaine and Firearms Seized in Residences in Madera and Fresno


FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment today against Patrick Maldonado, 42, of Madera, and Elias Zambrano Jr., 43, of Fresno, charging them with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana and being felons in possession of firearms, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced. Maldonado is also charged with possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute.

According to court documents, Maldonado and Zambrano coordinated the shipment of over 400 pounds of marijuana to Kansas City, Missouri. Following the seizure of one load in Kansas City and a second in Arizona, agents executed search warrants at Maldonado’s residence in Madera and Zambrano’s residence in Fresno. At Maldonado’s residence, agents found four kilograms of cocaine, a firearm, and $45,281 in cash. Processed marijuana was located throughout Maldonado’s residence. At Zambrano’s residence, agents found two loaded firearms and packaged bags of processed marijuana. Because Maldonado and Zambrano were previously convicted of felony offenses, they are prohibited from possessing firearms.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force consisting of agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Sheriff’s Offices of Tulare, Kings, and Fresno Counties, and the Fresno Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Escobar is prosecuting the case.

If convicted of the drug conspiracy, Maldonado and Zambrano face a maximum statutory penalty of 40 years in prison, a minimum statutory penalty of five years in prison, and up to a $5 million fine. Maldonado faces the same penalty if convicted of possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute. If convicted of being a felon in possession of firearms, both defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 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.

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated November 15, 2018