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Agents Make Large Heroin Siezure In Central Valley

Agents from SDEA (Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency), Cal-MMET (California Multi-Jurisdictional Methamphetamine Enforcement Team), and Central Valley HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) confiscated the largest ever tar-heroin shipment in the Central Valley on January 4, 2003. The 54-pound tar heroin shipment was found in specially built compartments in a silver 2002 Acura. Another 1.4 kilograms of heroin was seized from a residence in Turlock.

The seizure had not been previously released because the investigation was on going. Agents have arrested 5 men in connection with the drug smuggling ring. Arturo Gallegos-Arias, 33, of Modesto, Daniel Villalobos-Ramirez, 27, of Ceres, Raul Espinoza-Ruiz, 38, of Modesto, Marcos Trujillo-Santoyo, of Pittsburgh, California, and Jose Enrique Martinez-Nunez of Mexico have been charged with conspiring to import and distribute heroin, distribution of heroin, and possession of heroin with the intent to distribute.

According to Assistant United Stated Attorney Kathleen A. Servatius, who is prosecuting the case, court records reveal that these individuals are members of a heroin and cocaine trafficking organization responsible for smuggling narcotics from El Ahuaje, Michoacan, Mexico into the United States. If convicted, each defendant faces a mandatory 10-year prison term with a maximum possible term of life and a $4 million dollar fine.

“We have definitely made a major impact in the drug smuggling and manufacturing rings in the first couple of months of 2003,” said Lieutenant Marvin Harper. “Since January 4th we have seized 54 pounds of tar heroin, 66 pounds of cocaine, and busted up a Meth lab capable of producing 150 pounds of methamphetamine per week.”

During the statewide investigation, agents made several large narcotics seizures including 19 kilograms of heroin and 27 kilograms of cocaine from a residence in Garden Grove, California on September 12, 2000, and 181 pounds of heroin from a residence in Newark, California, on February 1, 2001.

The case was the product of an extensive joint investigation by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, SDEA, Central Valley HIDTA, Cal-MMET, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.