Skip to main content
Press Release

Sixteen Defendants Charged In Criminal Complaints Alleging Broad-Ranging Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

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

SAN FRANCISCO – A total of sixteen defendants have been named thus far in a federal criminal complaint alleging a broad-ranging criminal conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and other drugs in both the Eastern and Northern Districts of California, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge John J. Martin. The complaint, unsealed today, and related documents filed in the Eastern District of California allege that the following defendants participated in the conspiracy: 

  • Oscar Vladimir Escalante, aka “Cuddy,” aka “Hoggy”
  • Melina Patricia Escalante
  • Claudia Munoz
  • Jorge Gomez, aka “George”
  • Alfredo Guadalupe Ortiz, aka “Pep”
  • David Vigil aka “Chepp,” aka “Carlos”
  • Julian Marc Reayoung, aka “Marcus”
  • Christian Victor Vanleer, aka “Buggy,” aka “Buggy B”
  • Michael Anthony Vicochea, aka “Mikey,” aka "Money Mike"
  • Ignacio Gonzalez, aka “Pelon”
  • Daniel Medina-Garay;
  • Adam Mustafa Abdelwahhab
  • Louis Ramirez, aka “Louie”
  • Joel Salcedo
  • Sean Constantine Chin, aka “Miami”
  • James Hinkle, aka “Big Jim”

According to the complaint, the defendants all were part of a conspiracy whose objective was to distribute large quantities of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and prescription pills.  The conspirators also maintained marijuana grow houses in San Francisco, Oakland, Antioch, Discovery Bay, Tracy, and Delano, California.

According to the complaint, Oscar Escalente orchestrated many aspects of the alleged conspiracy, including working with an armorer to modify firearms so as to make them fully automatic for use in furtherance of the conspiracy.  The complaint also describes the various roles that the defendants allegedly played in the conspiracy.  The allegations set out the following: 

  • Melina Escalante, Oscar’s wife, assisted him in laundering the proceeds of his drug business;
  • Claudia Munoz, Oscar’s girlfriend, managed utilities and rental of real property for the grow houses;
  • Jorge Gomez managed a number of the grow houses;
  • David Vigil managed cultivation in a grow house and supplied methamphetamine;
  • Alfredo Ortiz assisted in the operations at four grow houses;
  • Julian Reayoung distributed heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana;
  • Christian Vanleer distributed heroin, cocaine, and alprazolam;
  • Michael Vicochea operated a grow house and distributed methamphetamine;
  • Ignacio Gonzalez managed a grow house and collected money from people who received drugs;
  • Daniel Medina-Garay distributed heroin and functioned as a street-level dealer;
  • Adam Abdelwahhab modified firearms to make them fully automatic and then supplied them to the conspirators;
  • Louis Ramirez assisted in growing and distributing marijuana and concentrated cannabis;
  • Joel Salcedo supplied heroin and methamphetamine to Oscar Escalante and Michael Vicochea;
  • Sean Chin was involved with at least one marijuana grow; and
  • James Hinkle assisted with growing and transporting marijuana plants. 

All the defendants were charged with engaging in a conspiracy to distribute heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, alprazolam, and 100 or more marijuana plants, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846; and illegal use of a communication facility, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 843(b).  In addition, Oscar Escalante, Vicochea, Abdelwahhab, and Salcedo were charged with possession of a machine gun, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(o); and Oscar and Melina Escalante, Munoz, Reayoung, and Vicochea were charged with money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h).  The maximum statutory penalty for a violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846 is 40 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $5,000,000; the maximum statutory penalty for a violation of 21 U.S.C. § 843(b) is 4 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000; the maximum statutory penalty for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(o) is 10 years; and the maximum statutory penalty for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h) is 20 years. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553. 

A complaint merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Yesterday, the DEA made 17 arrests and searched at least 14 locations in coordinated activity.  The defendants are scheduled to make the following appearances for detention hearings:


Next appearance before

U.S. Magistrate Judge*

David Vigil


James Hinkle


Oscar Escalante


Melina Escalante


Claudia Munoz


Jorge Gomez


Alfredo Ortiz


Julian Reayoung

Not yet scheduled

Christian Vanleer


Michael Vicochea


Ignacio Gonzalez


Daniel Medina-Garay


Adam Abdelwahhab


Louis Ramirez


Joel Salcedo


Sean Chin


*   All appearances will be made before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore except Vigil and Hinkle who will appear before U.S,. Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone, in Sacramento and Salcedo who will  appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu in San Jose.

This case is the product of an 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.  Special assistance was provided by the San Ramon Police Department with additional assistance from the Marin County Sheriff and the Oakland Police Department.


Updated September 20, 2016

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Prescription Drugs