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Press Release

El Cajon Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Drug Crimes

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

Assistant U. S. Attorney Jose Castillo (619) 546-6745 and Stephen Wong (619) 546-9464


SAN DIEGO – West Coast Crips gang member Randy Alton Graves was sentenced in federal court this morning to life in prison for multiple drug-related crimes.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office elected to seek an enhanced sentence based on his egregious conduct over decades. At the sentencing hearing, the court noted that Graves has more than a dozen felony and misdemeanor convictions from 1976 to 2012, ranging from voluntary manslaughter to gun crimes to multiple drug offenses. The enhancement raised the mandatory minimum sentence for Graves’ crimes to life in prison.

Graves was convicted by a federal jury on April 4, 2016 of conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine; conspiracy to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana; and possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. Following a five-day trial, the jury deliberated for about three hours before returning its verdict.

During sentencing, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw noted that he also considered Graves’ role in the murder of a government witness, sex trafficking, possession of firearms, and other instances of drug dealing in determining that a life sentence was appropriate - even without a mandatory minimum requirement.

According to evidence presented at trial, Graves sold methamphetamine to a confidential informant on four occasions between August and October of 2013.  The government also played for the jury intercepted phone calls in which Graves recruited three men to travel to Lompoc, California, to unload a boat carrying 5,000 pounds of marijuana from Mexico.  The government also presented evidence obtained from a search warrant executed on Graves’ residence which showed Graves in possession of 79 grams of methamphetamine found in Graves’ refrigerator and two loaded guns.

Graves was initially indicted in June 2014 with racketeering charges connected to the West Coast Crips criminal street gang.  The racketeering activity alleged in that indictment included several homicides, drug, and sex trafficking crimes.  Graves’ case was severed from the larger racketeering trial and proceeded to trial only on certain drug charges.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jose Castillo and Stephen Wong.

This guilty verdict is the fruit of the collaborative work of the FBI’s East County Regional Gang Task Force and the Violent Crimes Gang Task Force, the San Diego Police Department’s gang and homicide units; the ATF; the El Cajon Police Department; the La Mesa Police Department; San Diego County Probation; the IRS; U.S. Postal Inspectors; the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department; and the California Highway Patrol.

This investigation was coordinated by an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF program was created to consolidate and coordinate all law enforcement resources in this country's battle against major drug trafficking rings, drug kingpins, and money launderers.

DEFENDANT                                              Case Number 14CR1288-DMS                                          

Randy Alton Graves                                       Age: 53                       El Cajon, CA


Count One

Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine – Title 21, U.S.C., Section 851

Count Two

Conspiracy to distribute marijuana – Title 21, U.S.C., Section 851

Count Three

Possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine– Title 21, U.S.C., Section 851

Maximum penalty: Life in prison


San Diego Police Department Gang and Homicide Units

East County Regional Gang Task Force

Violent Crimes Task Force - Gang Group

Task Force agencies include:


San Diego Police Department


El Cajon Police Department

La Mesa Police Department

San Diego County Probation

IRS Criminal Investigation

U.S. Postal Inspectors

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department

California Highway Patrol


Updated July 27, 2016

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: CAS16-0726-Graves