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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

Monday, May 12, 2014

Leader Of Drug-Trafficking Organization Sentenced To 15 Years

United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced today that Jesus Manuel Rivera-Villareal, aka “Chuy,” was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role as a leader in a family-run drug-trafficking organization (DTO) that recruited young women to smuggle controlled substances into the United States.

Rivera-Villareal, who was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. James Lorenz, pled guilty to conspiracy to import methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin.

In August 2011, agents with the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in San Diego, California, began investigating the Rivera-Villareal DTO for its involvement in importing large quantities of narcotics into the United States. Using four recruiters, Rivera-Villareal and an associate hired, at least, five young women from the Riverside area to smuggle 27.38 kilograms of cocaine, 6.16 kilograms of pure methamphetamine, and 2.99 kilograms of heroin into the United States. After hiring the women, Rivera-Villareal arranged for another associate to load up the narcotics into secret compartments of various cars during brief trips to Mexicali, Mexico. Once the cars were loaded with narcotics, Rivera-Villareal returned the cars to the women who would then drive them into the United States in exchange for money.

United States Attorney Duffy complimented the efforts of HSI and stated, “This investigation demonstrates the commitment of the U.S. Department of Justice to keep dangerous drugs off the streets of our community by aggressively prosecuting high-level leaders of drug trafficking organizations.”

DEFENDANT   Case Number: 13-cr-3920-L
Jesus Manuel Rivera-Villareal Age: 32 Corona, CA

Title 21 U.S.C. §§ 952, 960, 963 Conspiracy to Import Controlled Substances

Maximum penalties: Mandatory Minimum of 10 years in prison; Maximum of Life in prison; Maximum $10 Million fine; 5 years of supervise release. 


Homeland Security Investigations

*Indictments and complaints are not evidence that the defendant committed the crime charged.  All defendants are presumed innocent until the United States meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.     

Updated July 23, 2015