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Press Release

Three Members Of Northern California Drug Trafficking Groups Convicted At Trial

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California
Defendants Were Convicted Following a Wiretap Investigation Into East Bay Drug Suppliers and Significant Seizures of Fentanyl, Methamphetamine, Cocaine, and Cash

SAN FRANCISCO – A federal jury has convicted three defendants—Luis Torres Garcia, Evan Martinez Diaz, and Timothy Peoples—of multiple drug trafficking offenses following an eight-day trial, announced United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), San Francisco Field Division, Special Agent in Charge Brian M. Clark. The jury convicted the defendants on all counts, rendering its verdict on February 14, 2024, after deliberating for two hours. The verdict followed a trial before the Hon. Richard Seeborg, Chief U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of California.

The evidence at trial included calls intercepted between April 2018 and February 2019 as part of a federal wiretap investigation into two drug suppliers in the East Bay. The intercepted calls established, among other things, that both suppliers received drugs from sources in Mexico. At trial, the government also presented evidence of several significant drug seizures including: 8.8 pounds of fentanyl and heroin in May 2018, valued at as much as $1.1 million, according to uncontested evidence at trial; 18 pounds of methamphetamine in August 2018; and 20 pounds of methamphetamine and one kilogram of cocaine in February 2019. The evidence at trial also established that law enforcement seized more than $300,000 in drug-related cash over the course of the investigation.

Torres Garcia, 38, of Rio Dell, California, was charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A). The evidence at trial showed that Torres Garcia was a Humboldt County drug trafficker, who used the nickname “Guero.” Torres Garcia received methamphetamine shipments on credit from a Fairfield, California-based drug supplier. On August 8, 2018, the Fairfield supplier attempted to send about 18 pounds of methamphetamine—valued at $158,000—to Torres Garcia in Humboldt County. DEA agents and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office intercepted the drug courier and seized the drugs during a vehicle stop on Highway 101 near Healdsburg, California. In February 2019, the DEA tracked Torres Garcia to a meeting in Windsor, California, where Torres Garcia delivered about $13,800 in cash to a courier for his drug supplier. Although he was present throughout the trial and listened to closing arguments, Torres Garcia absconded before the jury handed down its verdict; he is now a fugitive.

Martinez Diaz, 31, of Bay Point, California, was charged with three counts—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B); possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B); and possession with intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B). The evidence at trial established, among other things, that on February 9, 2019, Martinez Diaz was transporting about 20 pounds of methamphetamine and one kilogram of cocaine through a residential neighborhood in Antioch, California, when he realized he was being followed by law enforcement—which knew about the drugs through intercepted calls. Martinez Diaz began driving erratically, briefly evading law enforcement and directing a co-conspirator to discard the drugs he was carrying in the bushes on a residential street. A short time later law enforcement located the drugs, which evidence at trial established had street retail values of $177,860 (methamphetamine) and $40,000 (cocaine). After Martinez Diaz was stopped by police and released with a traffic citation, he was intercepted on a call telling his supplier that he had seen law enforcement and discarded the drugs to avoid arrest.

Peoples, 44, of Antioch, California, was arrested after law enforcement officers found cocaine in his home, and charged with two counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)–(C). Evidence presented at trial showed that Peoples was a regular customer of an Antioch-based cocaine wholesaler from whom he bought some 10.5 pounds of cocaine for more than $120,000 in a 90-day period. Peoples used the codeword “babies” to refer to ounce quantities of cocaine. The evidence at trial established that Peoples then sold cocaine to his own customers in smaller quantities and used his proceeds to buy expensive cars.

Judge Seeborg scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 11, 2024. Torres Garcia faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. Martinez Diaz and Peoples each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for every count on which they were convicted. However, the defendants’ sentences will be imposed only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel Pastor and Joseph Tartakovsky prosecuted the case with the assistance of Erick Machado. This prosecution is the result of an investigation led by the DEA Oakland Resident Office, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; Homeland Security Investigations; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the police departments in Fairfield, Antioch, Concord, and Oakland; the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office; and the California Highway Patrol.

Updated February 15, 2024