LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Eight alleged associates of the Pomona Sur Lokotes drug trafficking organization have been arrested for their alleged roles in trafficking large quantities of methamphetamine from California and Mexico to Las Vegas, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich of the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse of the FBI.
A federal grand jury returned a 22-count indictment charging Luis Arellano, aka “Lewis Arellano” aka “Laughter,” 29; Jacqueline Martinez, 29; Ivan Salazar, aka “Evil,” 38; Domingo Montes Jr., aka “JR,” 34; Amelio Che Medina, 43; Anna Barrios, 32; and Victor Manuel Rodriguez, aka “Smokey,” 37, all of Las Vegas, for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, and felon in possession of a firearm. A federal grand jury also returned a seven-count indictment charging Sergio Rios, aka “Gremlin,” 36, of Las Vegas, for distribution of methamphetamine.
According to court documents, law enforcement began investigating Arellano and other associates of the Pomona Sur Lokotes drug trafficking organization in December 2019. As alleged, Arellano and Martinez traveled to California to pick up methamphetamine and cocaine that they — along with the other defendants — then distributed in Las Vegas. Between September 13 and November 4, law enforcement arrested the defendants and, during the course of the operation, law enforcement seized: over 12 kilograms (approximately 26 pounds) of methamphetamine, 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, and nine firearms.
In addition to drug charges, Salazar and Medina are each charged with one count of felon in possession of a firearm. Salazar is alleged to have possessed a semi-automatic rifle after previously been convicted of felonies in Nevada. Medina is alleged to have possessed a 9mm handgun after previously been convicted of felonies in Utah. Under federal law, felony convictions prohibit an individual from possessing a firearm.
“This case exemplifies the targeted, impactful prosecutions that our office has been prioritizing to drive down crime rates and dismantle drug trafficking organizations,” said U.S. Attorney Trutanich. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with our law enforcement partners, including the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI, to increase public safety and get illegal drugs out of our communities.”
“Today's announcement is a direct result of the hard work and dedication shared between local and federal authorities in our efforts to combat drug trafficking organizations who distribute methamphetamine and cocaine in our communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Rouse. “The FBI’s Safe Streets Gang Task Force will continue to pursue investigations into individuals and groups who have furthered the scourge of drugs in our neighborhoods."
If convicted, each defendant faces a statutory maximum sentence of lifetime imprisonment and a $10,000,000 fine.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Safe Streets Gang Task Force and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
The investigation is part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s drug supply reduction strategy. OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.