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Press Release

Federal Charges Filed Following Record-Breaking Methamphetamine Seizure

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

Assistant U.S. Attorney Blanca Quintero (619) 546-7118

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – July 8, 2022                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

SAN DIEGO – Four men were charged today with federal drug trafficking offenses following the seizure of more than 5,000 pounds of methamphetamine discovered already inside the U.S. in two trucks in National City, California. This is believed to be one of the largest methamphetamine seizures in San Diego County.

The complaint alleges that on July 7, 2022, at approximately 4:55 p.m., a commercial 20-foot box truck crossed into the United States through the Otay Mesa Commercial Port of Entry. Law enforcement surveilled the box truck as it travelled to Hoover and 30th Street, in National City. Once there, agents observed the defendants unloading dozens of cardboard boxes from the box truck and loading them into a Dodge van. Law enforcement then apprehended the defendants, Rafael Alzua, Mario Contreras, Ethgar Velazquez, and Galdrino Contreras and discovered inside the boxes approximately 148 bundles of a substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine. The methamphetamine, in total, weighed more 5,000 pounds.

“This is a significant accomplishment by our law enforcement partners,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Due to stellar work by law enforcement agents, the government stopped more than 5,000 pounds of methamphetamine from being distributed on our streets.”

“This monumental seizure represents another win against drug cartels that fuel addiction in the United States,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Shelly S. Howe. “Because of our great partnerships with other law enforcement agencies, we will continue to disrupt the cartels’ flow of drugs into our cities.”

“I am grateful for the hard work, vigilance, and steadfast dedication of our Sheriff's Detectives, as well as our local, state and federal partners,” said Sheriff Anthony C. Ray. “Our partnership and collaboration allow us to share information that is absolutely critical in keeping drugs from entering our streets and holding drug traffickers accountable.”

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Defendant Information

Defendant                                                                                   Criminal Case No: 22-mj-02450-MDD

Defendant Number





Rafael Alzua




Mario Contreras




Ethgar Velazquez




Galdrino Contreras



Summary Of Charges

Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846.

Maximum Penalty: Mandatory minimum 10 years and up to life imprisonment, $10 million fine.


Drug Enforcement Administration

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department

Border Crime Suppression Team

Homeland Security Investigations

United States Border Patrol

Updated July 8, 2022

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: CAS22-0708-Alzua