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Press Release

California Drug Trafficker Sentenced to Federal Prison

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

PORTLAND, Ore.—A Fontana, California man was sentenced to federal prison Wednesday for his role in a local drug distribution ring responsible for trafficking large quantities of illegal narcotics from Mexico into the Portland metro area for redistribution and sale.

Javier Sarabia, 28, was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, beginning in April 2019, special agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other law enforcement agencies began investigating a drug trafficking organization operating in Portland and Vancouver, Washington. On April 22, 2019, investigators stopped a vehicle traveling north on Interstate 5 toward Portland. An initial search of the vehicle returned $23,000 in cash and what appeared to be hand-written drug ledgers. Later, while conducting a full search of the vehicles, investigators found two after-market compartments under the vehicle’s front seats concealing 100 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and eight pounds of heroin.

Further investigation revealed that the driver of the seized vehicle had recently communicated with Sarabia who served as a drug load coordinator, stash house operator, courier, and sub-distributor for the trafficking organization. It was later determined that Sarabia himself had arranged for the drugs to be loaded into the seized vehicle.

One month later, on May 28, 2019, as part of an unrelated law enforcement operation, police in Chino, California stopped Sarabia in a vehicle that was found to contain approximately ten pounds of methamphetamine. Sarabia confessed to his involvement in the drug trafficking organization and admitted to personally loading the drugs into the vehicle stopped and seized in Oregon.

On August 14, 2019, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a five-count indictment charging Sarabia and eleven others with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute controlled substances, use a communication facility, and maintain drug-involved premises, and other related charges. On October 18, 2023, Sarabia pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge. 

Sarabia is the eleventh person in the conspiracy to be sentenced. The twelfth and final defendant is a fugitive.

This case was investigated by DEA with assistance from the Tigard Police Department. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

Updated February 1, 2024

Drug Trafficking