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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 15, 2018

Bay Area Defendants Indicted In Alleged Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

SAN FRANCISCO – A federal grand jury indicted three Bay Area men for their respective roles in an alleged conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine, announced Acting United States Attorney Alex G. Tse, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Spradlin, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge John J. Martin, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.  One defendant also is charged in the indictment with possessing with the intent to distribute cocaine.  All three defendants have been arrested and are in custody. Complaints were also filed against each of these defendants in connection with these charges.

According to the indictment, between December 8, 2016, and January 30, 2018, Sergio Steven Vasquez-Gonzalez (a/k/a Checo, a/k/a Checks a/k/a Number One), 26, of Bay Point, California; Arturo Vazquez, 33, of Stockton, California; and Sergio Rubalcaba, 23, of Bay Point, California, conspired to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine in the Northern District of California and elsewhere.  In addition, the indictment alleges that on May 16, 2017, Vasquez-Gonzalez distributed 50 grams or more of pure methamphetamine, and on January 29, 2018, possessed with the intent to distribute 500 or more grams or more of cocaine.  In addition, A. Vazquez is alleged to have distributed 50 grams of methamphetamine on November 29, 2017, and Rubalcaba is alleged to have possessed with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of the drug on January 30, 2018.  

According to the complaint filed against him, Vasquez-Gonzalez was arrested on January 29, 2018, when a traffic stop of the vehicle he was driving resulted in the seizure of a kilogram of cocaine.  According to the complaint filed against him, Rubalcaba was arrested the following day when law enforcement searched his vehicle and seized a kilogram of methamphetamine, ten pounds of marijuana, and two ounces of black tar heroin.  A. Vazquez was arrested in Stockton pursuant to a federal complaint alleging that he distributed methamphetamine on November 29, 2017.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  The charges carry the maximum statutory sentences indicated in the chart below:

Charge

Defendants Charged

Maximum Statutory Sentence

Count One:

 

Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine

(21 U.S.C. § 846)

 

 

 

All Three Defendants

 

 

Life in prison

Count Two:

 

Distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine

(21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1))

 

 

 

Sergio Steven Vasquez-Gonzalez

 

 

Life in prison

Count Three:

 

Possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing cocaine

(21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1))

 

 

 

Sergio Steven Vasquez-Gonzalez

 

 

 

40 years in prison

Count Four:

 

Distribution of 50 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine

(21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1))

 

 

 

 

Arturo Vazquez

 

 

 

40 years in prison

Count Five:

 

Possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine

(21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1))

 

 

Sergio Rubalcaba

 

 

Life in prison

 

In addition, any defendant convicted of the conspiracy charge will face a mandatory 10-year term of imprisonment. The remaining counts carry the following mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment: Count Two–10 years; Count Three–5 years; Count Four–5 years; Count Five–10 years.  Any sentences following the defendants’ convictions would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.  

Vasquez-Gonzalez and Rubalcaba appeared on the indictment this morning before the Honorable Kandis A. Westmore, U.S. District Magistrate Judge.  Vazquez was previously arraigned in Stockton, California, and is being transported to the Northern District of California.  All of the defendants remain in federal custody.  The parties are scheduled to appear before the District Court on March 9, 2018.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Dawson and Nikhil Bhagat are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Patricia Mahoney and Rawaty Yim.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by HSI, the DEA, and the FBI.  The investigation was conducted and funded by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a multi-agency task force that coordinates long-term narcotics trafficking investigations.
 

Updated February 15, 2018