A federal jury convicted a California drug kingpin Monday of directing a continuing criminal enterprise by organizing and directing at least three separate methamphetamine conspiracies in Oklahoma and Missouri, announced U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.
Luis Alfredo Jacobo, 31, of Bakersfield, California, was found guilty of continuing criminal enterprise; three counts of drug conspiracy and 21 counts of unlawful use of a communication facility. Kelly Wayne Bryan, 55, who went to trial with Jacobo and was alleged to be involved in one of the methamphetamine conspiracies, was found not guilty of drug conspiracy.
“Luis Jacobo sent more than 2,000 pounds of methamphetamine into the Northern District of Oklahoma and Missouri for distribution and claimed to have netted $30 million as a part of his continuing criminal enterprise,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “As a result of their dogged investigative work, federal prosecutors and our law enforcement partners shut down this illicit enterprise, and Jacobo and numerous cohorts have been brought to justice.”
“This conviction is a message to drug traffickers who feed those struggling with addiction and line the pockets of criminal organizations,” said Eduardo A. Chávez, Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Field Division, who oversees operations in Oklahoma. “Your days spent peddling drugs and spending dirty money will lead to nights spent in jail staring at the ceiling while you are held responsible for your actions. DEA Tulsa is committed to keeping methamphetamine off our Oklahoma streets.”
Using his Mexican sources of supply and Bakersfield as a base of operations, Jacobo managed, supervised, and organized more than a dozen individuals in California, Northeast Oklahoma, and Southwest Missouri in an enterprise that spanned over five years and involved at least three drug conspiracies operating in and around the Northern District of Oklahoma.
Through countless communications between the conspirators, Jacobo set prices, determined methods of delivery and payment, and approved any suggestions made about the groups’ operations.
According to the indictment, from May 2016 to September 2021, Jacobo received bulk shipments of methamphetamine to his home base in Bakersfield. From there, Jacobo directed that the methamphetamine be sent via U.S. mail or driven in vehicles to the groups in Oklahoma and Missouri, sometimes in quantities of up to 200 pounds at a time. Coconspirators would drive large amounts of cash back to California, send money through money remitters, or mail cash payments back to Jacobo and to others at Jacobo’s direction. The coconspirators sometimes mailed as much as $100,000 cash at a time from Oklahoma to California.
The three conspiracies were run by Jacobo’s regional managers in northeastern Oklahoma. The managers employed, with Jacobo’s knowledge, distributors and subdistributors to help sell Jacobo’s drugs. Jacobo even met and gave direction to many of the distributors and subdistributors.
From May 2016 to December 2018, one drug conspiracy operated in Bakersfield and later in and around Grove, Oklahoma. A second drug conspiracy also worked out of Grove from September 2018 to August 2019. Finally, a third drug conspiracy operated from September 2018 to March 2021 in and around Grove and southwestern Missouri.
During trial, federal prosecutors presented evidence that included numerous communications and countless money exchanges related to the conspiracies as well as evidence collected when law enforcement executed search warrants.
For example, on Oct. 12, 2020, agents and officers with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and Grove Police Department opened a storage unit in Grove and discovered 231 pounds of methamphetamine and more than $465,000 in U.S. currency. The storage unit was rented for defendant Johnson to store methamphetamine for redistribution. That same weekend in 2020, law enforcement also executed search warrants on houses in Grove where codefendants stored drugs and drug proceeds.
Three days after the 231 pounds of methamphetamine was located, officers arrested codefendant Tony Garcia driving in Oklahoma City with 30 pounds of methamphetamine and a loaded 9 mm handgun. Text messages in Garcia’s phone show that he received instructions from Jacobo just prior to the trip about where and when to distribute the methamphetamine to Johnson and others in Oklahoma.
In its closing argument, the government highlighted the sheer number of Jacobo’s coconspirators who testified against Jacobo and repeated many of the same details about how Jacobo’s extensive drug business operated, including that Jacobo directed members of his organization to send cars packed full of methamphetamine to Northeast Oklahoma and cars packed full of money back to him in Bakersfield.
Jacobo’s conviction resulted from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Operation “Pullin Chains,” led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration. 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.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, Bureau of Indian Affairs, City of Miami Police Department, Grove Police Department, Quapaw Tribal Marshals Service, Bakersfield Police Department, Kern County Sheriff’s Office, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Oklahoma District 13 Drug and Violent Crime Task Force conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas E. Duncombe, Nathan E. Michel, and Melody N. Nelson prosecuted the case.