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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 13, 2017

Salinas Residents And Others Charged In Drug Distribution Conspiracy And Related Crimes

SAN JOSE- A federal grand jury indicted five individuals for their respective roles in an alleged conspiracy to engage in a methamphetamine trafficking network, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett, and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge John J. Martin.  A sixth defendant was named in the indictment and charged along with one of the conspirators with using a telephone to facilitate the sale of methamphetamine.  The indictment was unsealed today.

The indictment alleges that between March 2017 and September 2017, the conspiracy involved an agreement to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.  In addition, some of the defendants were charged with related crimes, including possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine, distributing methamphetamine, and use of a communication facility to commit a felony drug offense. The precise charges against each defendant, as well as their ages and places of residence, are set out in the chart below. 
 

Defendant

Age/

Residence

Charges

Statute

OSCAR GONZALEZ QUEVEDO, a/k/a “Oscar Quevedo Gonzalez,” a/k/a “El Oso,”

34/Mexicali, Mexico

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C. §§ 846

Distribution of 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine (3 counts)

21 U.S.C.

§§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(viii)

FRANCISCO PUGA CAMACHO, a/k/a “Francisco Puga Garcia,”

a/k/a/ “Frank Puga,”

48/Salinas, CA

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C. §§ 846

Possession With Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C.

§§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(iii)

Distribution of 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine (3 counts)

21 U.S.C.

§§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(viii)

Use of Communication Facility (Telephone) to Commit Felony Drug Offense

21 U.S.C. § 843(b)

HORACIO QUINTANA

22/Salinas, CA

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C. §§ 846

Possession With Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C.

§§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(viii)

Distribution of 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine (2 counts)

21 U.S.C.

§§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(viii)

JOEL QUINTANA MEDINA

25/Salinas, CA

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C. §§ 846

Distribution of 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine (2 counts)

21 U.S.C.

§§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(viii)

JESUS BERNAL NUNEZ, a/k/a “Animal,” a/k/a “Jesse James,”

33/Salinas, CA

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C. §§ 846

Distribution of 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C.

§§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(viii)

NESTOR TAVAREZ

50/Gonzalez, CA

Use of Communication Facility (Telephone) to Commit Felony Drug Offense

21 U.S.C. § 843(b)

 

The indictment was filed September 28, 2017, and describes four transactions in which two or more of the defendants are alleged to have possessed or distributed methamphetamine.  

Each of the following defendants was arrested and appeared in court on October 12, 2017:  Francisco Puga Camacho, Joel Quintana Medina, and Jesus Bernal Nunez Nestor Tavarez.   The coordinated arrests and searches took place in Salinas, Greenfield, Castroville, and Gonzalaz.  The defendants made their initial appearances before Magistrate Judge Nathanael M. Cousins on October 12, 2017.  Quevedo, pictured below, remains a fugitive.

Oscar Gonzalez Quevedo

 

The case has been assigned to the Honorable Lucy H. Koh, United States District Judge, for Northern District of California.

In addition to the indictment, two criminal complaints were filed as a result of this investigation, and two additional defendants were arrested.  

Alejandro Dominguez Hernandez was charged by complaint with distribution of a controlled substance in violation of 21 USC§ 841 (a)(1), (b)(1)(B).  According to the affidavit supporting the complaint, Hernandez distributed approximately one pound of methamphetamine to a confidential source on October 5, 2017, in Salinas, California.  

Ernesto Calderon Ramirez was charged by complaint with distribution of a controlled substance in violation of 21 USC§ 841 (a)(1), (b)(1)(B).  According to the affidavit supporting the complaint, Ramirez attempted to dispose of quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine when agents executed a search warrant at a residence in Greenfield, California.

Indictments and Complaints merely allege that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  The maximum statutory penalties for the crimes of which the defendants have been accused are as follows:
 

CHARGE

STATUTE

MAXIMUM PENALTY

(per count)

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Minimum 10 years imprisonment

Maximum lifetime imprisonment

Minimum 5 years supervised release following incarceration

Maximum lifetime supervised release

Maximum $10,000,000 fine

Possession With Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of A Mixture and Substance Containing Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(viii)

Minimum 10 years imprisonment

Maximum lifetime imprisonment

Minimum 5 years supervised release following incarceration

Maximum lifetime supervised release

Maximum $10,000,000 fine

Distribution of 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C.

§§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(viii)

Minimum 5 years imprisonment

Maximum 40 years

Minimum 4 years supervised release following incarceration

Maximum lifetime supervised release

Maximum $5,000,000 fine

Use of Communication Facility (Telephone) to Commit Felony Drug Offense

21 U.S.C. § 843(b)

Maximum 4 years imprisonment

 

Further, additional fines, forfeitures, and restitution may be ordered; however, any sentence following conviction 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.  

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffery Backhus is prosecuting the cases with assistance from Ryka Bargi.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI with assistance from the DEA (including the DEA San Jose Task Force Group and the DEA San Francisco Field Division SRT), the U.S. Marshal Service, the California Department of Corrections, the Unified Narcotic Enforcement Team, the Peninsula Regional Violence and Narcotic Team, the Santa Cruz County Anti-Crime Team, and the California Highway Patrol. 

These cases are the product of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a focused multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Updated October 13, 2017