Twenty-three gang members charged with crackdown on South Bay heroin, methamphetamine and gun traffickers | USAO-SDCA

Assistant US Attorneys Matthew J. Sutton (619) 546-8941 and Adam Gordon (619) 546-6720

SUMMARY OF PRESS RELEASES – May 27, 2021

SAN DIEGO – Eleven unsealed federal indictments in San Diego today charge 23 gang members and associates with documented trafficking in heroin, methamphetamine and firearms. The crackdown announced today is the latest in a series of efforts by the Justice Department to turn the tide of the opioid epidemic and reduce the inevitable violent crime that accompanies rampant drug trafficking.

At 1:00 p.m. today, 17 of the 23 accused are either in federal or state custody. Twelve have been arrested this week, including nine this morning; the others were already in detention. Authorities continue to search for six defendants. Many defendants are expected to be brought to justice before US Justice of the Peace Michael Berg at 2 p.m. today and tomorrow.

The year-long investigation covered federal wiretaps, dozens of undercover drug and weapon purchases, and extensive surveillance. Many of the defendants are members or associates of violent South Bay street gangs operating in National City, San Ysidro and elsewhere. Many of these gangs have long-standing ties to the Mexican Mafia. In total, authorities seized 2.1 kilograms of methamphetamine, 160 grams of heroin and nine related firearms from the defendants during the investigation.

“Gangs, drugs and illegal guns plague many of our neighborhoods and create a culture of violence that is dangerous to residents,” said Acting US attorney Randy S. Grossman. “This lawsuit underscores that coordinated criminal activity will be accompanied by a coordinated and targeted police response from the US attorney’s office and our law enforcement partners at the federal, state and local levels. We are committed to dismantling violent gangs and holding their members accountable for their criminal acts. “

“The FBI is proud to work alongside our local, state and federal partners on the Violent Crime Task Force to address the gang problem and rid our streets of the overflow of drugs and guns that continue to plague our streets. hit our communities, ”said FBI Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner. “Today’s law enforcement measures are another example of why the task force was created – to be a force multiplier and combine short-term law enforcement activities at the level of the street with sophisticated long-term techniques to root out and prosecute the entire criminal enterprise. “

“I would like to recognize the cooperation between all the agencies that participated in this operation,” said San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit. “These collaborative efforts continue to make our communities safe.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Grossman praised the coordinated effort of the federal and state team in bringing this investigation to fruition. Agents and officers of the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force-Gang Group, San Diego Police Department, San Diego Sherriff’s Department, National City Police Department, Chula Vista Police Department, Federal Bureau of Prisons, San Diego County Probation and the San Diego County District of the public prosecutor collaborated in this investigation. Lawyers from the Ministry of Justice, Office of Enforcement Operations, Electronic Monitoring Unit, also provided essential assistance to the investigation. Grossman also congratulated US deputy lawyers Matthew J. Sutton and Adam Gordon for their excellent work on this case.

This prosecution is part of an investigation by the Working Group on the Fight against Drugs in the Context of Organized Crime (OCDETF). The OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the high-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a multi-agency, prosecutor-led approach, grounded in the intelligence and leveraging the forces of the federal government, national and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

The government case is being pursued by US assistant lawyers Matthew J. Sutton and Adam Gordon.

DEFENDANTS Case number: 21CR1404-DMS

Last name

Age

Hometown

José Garcia (1),

aka “Little Man”

38

San Diego

Hector Esquivel (2),

aka “Kracks”

31

San Diego

Paul Godoy (3),

aka “Loco”

40

San Diego

Laura Mejia (4)

23

San Diego

SUMMARY OF FEES

Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, USC, Secs. 841 (a) (1) and 846;

Distribution of methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, USC, Sec. 841 (a) (1);

Felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of Title 18, USC, Secs. 922 (g) (1) and 924 (a) (2).

Maximum penalties: For drug charges: life in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a fine of $ 10 million. For firearms charges: ten years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000.

DEFENDANTS Case number: 21CR1405-DMS

Last name

Age

Hometown

* Alexa Allen (1)

29

San Diego

* Yuliana Guillen (2)

43

San Diego

SUMMARY OF FEES

Distribution of methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, USC, Sec. 841 a) 1).

Maximum penalties: For drug charges: life in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a fine of $ 10 million.

RESPONDENT Case number: 21CR1406-DMS

Last name

Age

Hometown

Fernando Banuelos (1),

aka “Puma”

39

San Diego

SUMMARY OF FEES

Distribution of methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, USC, Sec. 841 (a) (1);

Maximum penalties: For drug charges: life in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a fine of $ 10 million.

RESPONDENT Case number: 21CR1407-DMS

Last name

Age

Hometown

Victor Cantero (1),

aka “Scooby”

44

San Diego

SUMMARY OF FEES

Distribution of methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, USC, Sec. 841 (a) (1);

Maximum penalties: For drug charges: life in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a fine of $ 10 million.

DEFENDANTS Case number: 21CR1408-DMS

Last name

Age

Hometown

Rodolfo Estrada (1)

27

San Diego

* Alberto Flores (2)

40

San Diego

SUMMARY OF FEES

Felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of Title 18, USC, Secs. 922 (g) (1) and 924 (a) (2);

Maximum penalties: For firearms charges: 10 years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000.

DEFENDANTS Case number: 21CR1409-DMS

Last name

Age

Hometown

Andres Rodriguez (1),

aka “Dragon”

33

San Diego

Omar Solis (2),

aka “Lazy”

26

San Diego

SUMMARY OF FEES

Distribution of methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, USC, Sec. 841 (a) (1);

Maximum penalties: For drug charges: life in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a fine of $ 10 million.

RESPONDENT Case number: 21CR1410-DMS

Last name

Age

Hometown

* Daniel Rodriguez (1),

aka “Chip”

36

San Diego

SUMMARY OF FEES

Felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of Title 18, USC, Secs. 922 (g) (1) and 924 (a) (2);

Maximum penalties: For firearms charges: ten years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000.

DEFENDANTS Case number: 21CR1411-DMS

Last name

Age

Hometown

Lucy Simmons (1)

47

San Diego

Jesse Gonzales (2)

40

San Diego

SUMMARY OF FEES

Distribution of methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, USC, Sec. 841 (a) (1);

Maximum penalties: For drug charges: life in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a fine of $ 10 million.

RESPONDENT Case number: 21CR1412-DMS

Last name

Age

Hometown

Alexandre Sotelo (1),

aka “Venom”

30

San Diego

SUMMARY OF FEES

Felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of Title 18, USC, Secs. 922 (g) (1) and 924 (a) (2);

Maximum penalties: For firearms charges: ten years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000.

DEFENDANTS Case number: 21CR1413-DMS

Last name

Age

Hometown

Gilberto Tovar (1)

32

San Diego

* Sandra Gonzalez (2)

55

San Diego

SUMMARY OF FEES

Distribution of methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, USC, Sec. 841 (a) (1);

Maximum penalties: For drug charges: life in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a fine of $ 10 million.

DEFENDANTS Case number: 21CR1414-DMS

Last name

Age

Hometown

Carlos Teran (1),

aka “Tadow”

42

San Diego

* Andrew Diangelo (2),

aka “Cowboy”

37

San Diego

Luis Quintana (3),

aka “Maniac”

37

San Diego

Sylvia Freeman (4)

60

San Diego

Joe Franco (5)

44

San Diego

* Fugitives

SUMMARY OF FEES

Conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, in violation of Title 21, USC, Secs. 841 (a) (1) and 846;

Conspiracy to import heroin, in violation of Title 21, USC, Secs. 952, 960 and 963;

Felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of Title 18, USC, Secs. 922 (g) (1) and 924 (a) (2);

Possession with intent to distribute heroin, in violation of Title 21, USC, Sec. 841 (a) (1);

Importation of heroin, in violation of Title 21, USC, Secs. 952 and 960;

Maximum penalties: For drug charges: life in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a fine of $ 10 million. For firearms charges: ten years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000.

Charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are only charges and the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty.

AGENCIES

Federal Bureau of Investigation

San Diego Police Department

San Diego Sheriff’s Department

Internal Revenue Service

Homeland security investigations

City National Police Department

Chula Vista Police Department

Federal Bureau of Prisons

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

San Diego County Probation

San Diego County Attorney’s Office


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