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Federal, State and Local Narcotics Agents Dismantle Drug Trafficking Organization in Nationwide Sweep

Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Contact: (415) 703-5837

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (BNE) INCA Task Force and the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office today culminated a one-year investigation targeting a national and international drug trafficking organization.

In October 2003, an investigation stemming from the seizure of $2.2 million during a traffic stop in Kimble County, Texas, identified Salvador Mendoza of Norco, California as one of the ringleaders of a Mexico-based drug trafficking organization responsible for the distribution of cocaine, “ICE” methamphetamine, marijuana and heroin from Mexico to the United States. As a result, DEA and INCA members conducted numerous court-authorized wiretaps of telephones being used by Mendoza and his associates. In addition, information was forwarded to DEA offices in Chicago, El Paso, Milwaukee and Atlanta, which resulted in additional wiretaps.

During the past 12 months, the INCA Task Force and the Los Angeles DEA Office, assisted by several local agencies, seized more than 150 pounds of cocaine, 37 pounds of “ICE” methamphetamine and 5,300 pounds of marijuana in the Southern California area as a result of information obtained from the wiretaps on Mendoza and his associates.

Nationwide, the “Operation Money Clip” investigation is responsible for the seizure of $4.4 million in U.S. currency, 2,526 kilograms of cocaine, 74 pounds of “ICE” methamphetamine, 39,265 pounds of marijuana, 2.2 pounds of heroin and 83 arrests.

This morning, 11 search warrants were served and 22 arrests were made by law enforcement agencies nationwide. Salvador Mendoza, 32, of Norco; Arnulfo Mendoza, 42, of Ontario; and Riverside residents Indalecio Mendoza, 34; Ruben Mendoza, 29; and Natael Mendoza, 40, were arrested in Southern California and are facing numerous counts of federal and state drug violations.

INCA Task Force member agencies include the California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, the California Bureau of Alcohol Beverage Control, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (OCEDTF), the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, and the Beaumont, Corona, Hemet, Palm Springs and Riverside police departments.

Also assisting with the investigation were the California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles and San Bernardino County sheriff’s departments, the California Department of Justice Violence Suppression Program, the WESTNET and ARCNET task forces, California Department of Motor Vehicles, California Board of Equalization and the Alhambra , Chino and Torrance police departments.

For more information, please contact INCA Task Force Program Manager Orlando Lopez at (909) 208-9062. Photos are available by e-mail.

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