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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Twenty Defendants Indicted for Heroin, Methamphetamine and Cocaine Trafficking

Assistant U. S. Attorney A. Dale Blankenship (619) 546-6705

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – June 27, 2018

SAN DIEGO – Two federal indictments unsealed in San Diego today charge 20 defendants with heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana trafficking.

In a two-day sweep, members of the Homeland Security Investigations Gangs & Weapons Group, plus other law enforcement agencies around the county made numerous arrests and searched two locations in Spring Valley and Lemon Grove.

The yearlong investigation involved months of federal wiretaps, numerous undercover drug and gun buys and extensive surveillance. Many of the defendants are associates of criminal street gangs such as Skyline Piru, Florencia 13, Ysidro, Shelltown, Logan Heights Red Steps, Vario and Chula Vista.  The investigation revealed that some of these defendants have ties to Mexican Mafia and Mexican Drug Cartels. 

As of today at noon, sixteen of the twenty defendants are either in federal or state custody.  Authorities are continuing to search for two defendants. Six of the defendants were arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Clinton Averitte yesterday.

“Drugs are destroying lives and families and bringing violence to our communities, and we are more committed than ever to prosecuting these cases,” said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman. “Gangs are most often the distributors of these deadly poisons, and we have a special resolve to go after them.”

HSI Special Agent in Charge David Shaw said, “Homeland Security Investigations remains committed in keeping our communities safe from drug trafficking and associated dangerous criminal activity,” said David Shaw, Special Agent in Charge for HSI in San Diego. “The arrests over the last two days demonstrate the unwavering dedication between HSI and our law enforcement partners, to address these dangerous threats facing our community.”

This case is the result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) a partnership that brings together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, dismantle and prosecute high level members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and enterprises.

The United States is represented in court by Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Dale Blankenship.

DEFENDANT          Criminal Case No: 18CR2278-CAB

Name

Age

Hometown

JOSE VARGAS-MEZA (1)

25

San Diego

JESSE RAMIREZ (2),

   aka “Junior,”

27

Chula Vista

MARTIN VILLAFANA (3),

   Aka “Gato,”

25

San Diego

SERGIO GARCIA (4),

   aka “Checko,”

27

San Diego

JAMAAR RASHAAD CODRINGTON (5),

   aka “Buzz,”

38

San Diego

CHRISTIAN RAMIREZ (6)

28

Chula Vista

JENNIFER LIEGH ZAYAS (7)

37

El Cajon

 

24

San Diego

PRENTICE TAULAUO TEO (9)

46

San Diego

RICKY RICARDO SIMMONS (10),

   aka “Daz,”

38

Spring Valley

JERMAINE SAYLES (11)

38

San Diego

LARON WALLACE (12),

   aka “Skinny,”

38

San Diego

ALEXANDER AGENCIA SANTOS (13),

   aka “Lex,

35

San Diego

LAMONT CHARLES YOUNG (14)

20

San Diego

TARA LYNN JONES (15)

34

San Diego

RICO WELCH (16)

46

San Diego

 

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine (Title 21, U.S.C., Secs. 841(a)(1), 846);

Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine (Title 21, U.S.C., Secs. 841(a)(1), 846);

Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana (Title 21, U.S.C., Secs. 841(a)(1), 846);
Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute (Title 21, U.S.C, Secs. 841(a)(1)).


Maximum Penalties: Maximum Penalties: For cocaine and methamphetamine charges: life in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a $10 million fine; for marijuana charge:

40 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years and a $5 million fine.

 

DEFENDANTS                                                                   Criminal Case No: 18CR2970-CAB

Name

Age

Hometown

VICTOR CARRASCO (1),

   aka “Mico,”

54

San Diego

 

 

24

San Diego

MARIO ZUNIGA-BARRAGAN (3),

49

San Diego

CESAR AGUILAR RODRIGUEZ (4),

26

San Diego

 

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

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

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

Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute (Title 21, U.S.C. Secs. 841(a)(1));

Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute (Title 21, U.S.C. Secs. 841(a)(1)).. 

Maximum Penalties: For cocaine and methamphetamine charges: life in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a $10 million fine; for heroin charge:

20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

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

AGENCIES

Homeland Security Investigations – Gang and Weapons Group

San Diego Police Department

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department

Chula Vista Police Department

San Diego County Probation Department

San Diego District Attorney’s Office

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

San Diego Fugitive Task Force

United States Bureau of Prisons – Joint Intelligence Sharing Initiative

ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations

United States Border Patrol K-9

Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations

Federal Bureau of Investigation 

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 
CAS18-0627-Vargas
Updated June 27, 2018