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Press Release

Officials Take Down Gang-Affiliated Drug Traffickers; Remove Methamphetamine, Heroin and Guns from the Street

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

Assistant U. S. Attorneys Andrew Haden (619) 546-6961 and Seth Askins (619) 546-6692    


SAN DIEGO – As residents of the Skyline neighborhood expressed gratitude, federal agents arrested 18 suspected gang members and associates who are charged with gun and drug-trafficking crimes in federal grand jury indictments unsealed yesterday and today.

The majority of arrests occurred in the Skyline and Paradise Hills neighborhoods – areas historically plagued by gang violence. Just days ago, a shooting at nearby Emerald Hills Park left one person dead on May 1, and two days later there was an officer-involved shooting a few miles away.

Following a yearlong investigation and a two-day sweep that concluded this morning, 25 defendants were charged and six firearms were taken off the streets. Over 1,500 grams of methamphetamine and 248 grams of heroin were also seized as part of the investigation.  Seven defendants are still at large.

The two indictments describe four different conspiracies with overlapping players, including individuals with ties to criminal street gangs, including Skyline, the Samoan Bloods, Kalaban, the Stateside Islanders, the Paradise Hills Locos, Logan Heights, Old Town National City, National City Southside Mob, Trust No Soul, and Lincoln Park.

According to the indictments and a search warrant affidavit, most defendants were drug traffickers selling methamphetamine. Some of the conspiracies involved the importation of methamphetamine and heroin from Mexico. Some of the defendants were felons in possession of firearms.

According to federal agents, during the execution of the search warrant at a residence on Brookhaven Road, several members of the community thanked law enforcement for their efforts in helping make the community safer.

“Methamphetamine is ravaging our communities, and it’s not just users who are suffering,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “Residents in these meth- and gang-infested areas deserve to live in peace, free of gunfire, violence and fear.”

“HSI and our law enforcement partners have successfully disrupted a contraband smuggling operation linked to several San Diego-area gangs,” said Dave Shaw, special agent in charge for HSI San Diego. “As part of this joint investigation, we have dealt a serious blow to violent gang organizations. Combating violent crime to make our communities safe is a top priority.”

“Competition between these dealers over control of the drug trade, combined with criminal street gang influence, was creating a dangerous environment for our entire community,” said San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman. “The success of this joint operation with our law enforcement partners has made our neighborhoods safer.”

Eleven defendants were arraigned in federal court today and one yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nita L. Stormes. 


United States v. Ortiz, et al, 16-CR-874-JAH


JAVIER HERNANDEZ (2) – 23 years old

YARELI MAGNOLIA NORIEGA (3) – 27 years old

JASMINE EUNIQUE RIPP (4) – 29 years old

*JULIO ALBERTO ONTIVEROS (5) – 38 years old


Title 21, U.S.C., Secs. 952, 960, 963 Conspiracy to Import Controlled Substances - Life

Title 21, U.S.C., Secs. 841(a)(1) and 846 B Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine - Life

Title 21, U.S.C., Secs. 952 and 960  Importation of Methamphetamine – 20 years

Title 21, U.S.C., Sec. 841(a)(1)- Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute – 40 years

Title 21, U.S.C., Secs. 952 and 960 B Importation of Heroin – 40 years

Title 21, U.S.C., Sec. 841(a)(1)- Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute – 20 years


United States v. Usini, et al., 16-CR-875-JAH

FILI USINI (1)  - 42 years old


CARL DELANDO BRANDON (3) – 45 years old

DEANDRE COOK (4) – 46 years old

FRANC LESTER BULARAN (5) – 35 years old

ANTHONY VELARDE (6) – 31 years old


BICENTENNIAL POUTOA (8) – 39 years old

VICTOR CERVANTES (9) – 42 years old

*JORGE ARMANDO SALAS (10) – 44 years old

*MAURICE SCOTT (11) – 45 years old

JAMES GILLESPIE (12) – 47 years old

KEITH IAULUALO (13)- 33 years old

LONNIE DARNELL ANDERSON (14) – 47 years old

TERRENCE ANDERSON (15) – 46 years old

*PATRICK JEFFREY DIBBLE (16) – 42 years old

*KEMONDRE HAMILTON (17) – 35 years old

*RICHARD BELCHER (18) – 53 years old

LAVONN WILLIAM HALL (19) – 45 years old

*ANITA VILLALBA (20) – 53 years old


Title 21, U.S.C., Secs. 841(a)(1) and 846 B Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine – Life

Title 21, U.S.C., Sec. 841(a)(1)- Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute – Life

Title 18, U.S.C., Sec 922(g)(1) – Felon in Possession of a Firearm – 10 years

Title 21, U.S.C., 853, Title 18, U.S.C., 924(d), and Title 28, U.S.C., 2461(c) – Criminal Forfeiture


Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations

San Diego Police Department

Drug Enforcement Administration

Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives

San Diego Sheriff’s Department

San Diego County Probation Department

El Cajon Police Department

San Diego County District Attorney’s Office

U.S. Bureau of Prisons


The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Updated May 5, 2016

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: CAS16-0505-Usini