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Department of Justice Announces Arrests in Major Drug Trafficking Investigation

Wednesday, November 3, 2004
Contact: (415) 703-5837

(FRESNO) – The California Department of Justice (DOJ), with the assistance of federal agents, today arrested about 40 individuals believed to be involved in a major California drug trafficking organization.

Led by the DOJ's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (BNE), the two-year investigation focused on Estanislao Pulido, 40, of Fresno. Pulido is believed to be the leader of an organization responsible for the cultivation of marijuana on federal land in the San Joaquin Valley and the trafficking of cocaine and methamphetamine from San Diego to the Oregon border. The investigation is ongoing.

Agents served 16 federal search warrants and 12 federal arrest warrants in Fresno, Merced and Riverside counties. In addition to Pulido, arrested today were the following:<ul>
<li>Citlali Pulido, 30
<li>Alejandro Gonzales-DeHaro, 23
<li>Yasmin Gonzales, 21
<li>Amado Garcia Mejia, 29
<li>Javier Manzo Lua, 50
<li>Jose Jesus Pulido, age unknown
<li>Jose Pulido Jr., age unknown
<li>Adalberto Gallardo Chavez, 32
<li>Gabino Garcia Mejia, 24
<li>Jose Bravo, age unknown</ul>
All of these arrestees are being booked into the Fresno County Jail pending arraignment in federal court.

In addition to those above, an additional 30 individuals were arrested today at a location in Merced County, where a marijuana processing factory was found. These individuals are in the process of being identified and will be booked into the Fresno County Jail on various federal charges.

Since "Operation Maricopa" began in 2002, DOJ and federal agents have seized more than two pounds of methamphetamine, two ounces of cocaine, 10 pounds of high-grade processed marijuana, 25,000 marijuana plants and $2,000 in cash.

Seized today during the serving of warrants were the following items: a methamphetamine conversion lab, additional chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine, a large amount of cocaine, ICE methamphetamine, methamphetamine and approximately 1,000 pounds of marijuana. Also seized were several rifles and handguns, a stolen AR-15 semi-automatic assault weapon, vehicles and cash.

Assisting DOJ with the investigation and arrests were the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Merced County Sheriff's Department, Fresno County Sheriff's Department, Fresno Police Department and the Central Valley HIDTA

For more information, contact DOJ Senior Special Agent in Charge Dave Dresson, or DOJ Special Agent Supervisor Bill Mayfield at (559) 457 - 5100.

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