Seven Indicted for Trafficking Methamphetamine, Cocaine, and Fentanyl

Seven Indicted for Trafficking Methamphetamine, Cocaine, and Fentanyl

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a 24-count indictment today against seven defendants, charging them with drug trafficking offenses, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

Cesar Losoya-Castrejon, 46, of Tulare, is charged with two counts of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and fentanyl, twelve counts of distribution of methamphetamine and fentanyl, one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and one count of using a cellphone in aid of racketeering;

Arturo Farias-Zepeda, 52, of Atwater, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, three counts of distribution of methamphetamine, and one count of using a cellphone in aid of racketeering;

Juan Cesar Valencia-Zepeda, 38, of Merced, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and one count of distribution of methamphetamine;

Roberto Soria-Cuevas, 62, of Yettem, Tulare County, is charged with one count of distribution of methamphetamine;

Ricardo Rivas-Arredondo, 31, of Earlimart, Tulare County, is charged with one count of distribution of methamphetamine;

Jose Adan Chaidez Ojeda, 38, of Earlimart, is charged with one count of distribution of methamphetamine and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; and

Julio Cesar Vargas-Birrueta, 30, of Yettem, is charged with one count of distribution of fentanyl and one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.

According to court documents, between October 2021 and October 2022, Losoya-Castrejon, with the assistance of Farias-Zepeda, Valencia-Zepeda, Soria-Cuevas, Arredondo, and Chaidez Ojeda, distributed over 130 pounds of methamphetamine to a DEA confidential source.

On Oct. 12, 2022, agents uncovered an active methamphetamine conversion laboratory in Ducor, in Tulare County, that allegedly was used to convert liquid methamphetamine into crystal methamphetamine for distribution. Large quantities of crystal and liquid methamphetamine were seized in the laboratory. In total, law enforcement seized approximately 500 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and approximately 500 gallons of liquid methamphetamine from the conversion laboratory.

The case is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the San Joaquin County Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force, and the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, the Tulare County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Unit (HIDTA). Assistant U.S. Attorney Antonio J. Pataca is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, the defendants face a range of maximum sentences, including up to life in prison. All of the defendants also face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

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