Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Eleven Arrests in Multi-State Drug Trafficking Bust
FRESNO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrest of eleven individuals associated with a Central Valley-based narcotics trafficking organization and the seizure of over $200,000 in cash and drugs including over 50 lbs. of methamphetamine and nearly 1,000 marijuana plants.
"Transnational drug traffickers aren't troubled by the details of law enforcement jurisdictions or government borders, and neither should our enforcement efforts,” Attorney General Harris said. “My California Department of Justice Task Force worked closely with local, state and federal law enforcement officials throughout the Central Valley to dismantle the Magana organization. Our success shows the pressing need for more collaboration and funding to fight transnational drug trafficking in California.”
Defendants Jose Magana, Manuel Munoz and Juan Parra were arrested on March 4, 2014, defendant John DeWayne Young was arrested on November 10, 2013 and defendant Ana Valero was arrested on March 11, 2014, all in Tulare County. Defendants Erwin Alva, Rosemary Alvarez, Ernesto Carrillo and Christopher Pellegrin were arrested on March 4, 2014 in Riverside County. They are charged with thirteen felony counts including possession, transportation and sale of a controlled substance, prohibited possession of ammunition, and conspiracy. All are currently being held in Tulare County Jail and are being prosecuted by the Tulare County District Attorney. Alva, Alvarez, Carrillo, Munoz, Pellegrin and Valero are being held on $500,000 bail, Magana and Parra are being held without bail and Young is being held on $3 million bail.
Defendants Gerardo Campos-Cuin and Angel Pedraza-Cervantes were arrested in Jonesboro Arkansas by the Independence County Sheriff's Department, Jonesboro Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration on February 13, 2014 and charged with one count of felony possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Both are currently being held without bail at the Craighead County Jail and are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
In the summer of 2013, agents with a California Department of Justice task force in the Central Valley initiated an investigation into Jose Magana for suspected marijuana trafficking. Further investigation revealed that Magana and members of his organization were trafficking narcotics including methamphetamine and cocaine from Mexico through the Central Valley of California to be sold as far away as Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania. Agents also discovered that Magana and his organization were supplying narcotics to a Nuestra Familia-affiliated street gang operating in Kings County.
In total, agents seized 56 pounds of methamphetamine, 4 kilograms of cocaine, 942 marijuana plants, $268,775 in U.S. currency and 1 vehicle.
The announcement of these arrests and seizure was delayed due to the ongoing nature of this investigation.
The investigation was initiated by the California Attorney General’s Central Valley Marijuana Investigation Team, which is a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force, and the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department. Later in the investigation, the Attorney General’s Tulare County Agencies Regional Gang Enforcement Team task force also assisted with the investigation.
Attorney General Harris announced the creation of the Tulare County Agencies Regional Gang Enforcement Team task force in April of 2011 in an effort to dedicate additional resources to investigate and arrest criminal gang members in the Central Valley as well as increase cooperation between law enforcement agencies in the region.
The California Attorney General’s task forces were assisted in this investigation by the following participating agencies: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, U.S. Forest Service, Internal Revenue Service, Bureau of Land Management, California Highway Patrol, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California National Guard, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, Kings County Gang Task Force, Kings County Sheriff’s Office, Tulare County District Attorney’s Office and Tulare County Sheriff’s Department.
In June of 2011, Attorney General Harris announced the arrests of 101 leaders and members of two transnational gangs operating violent criminal enterprises in the Central Valley cities of Madera, Los Banos, Livingston, Merced, Atwater and Dos Palos.
A March 2014 report issued by Attorney General Harris called the trafficking of methamphetamine from Mexico into California a growing threat to the state and a top priority for law enforcement. The report, Gangs Beyond Borders: California and the Fight Against Transnational Organized Crime, is the first comprehensive report analyzing the current state of transnational criminal organizations in California and the threats they pose to the state’s public safety and economy. The report outlined many recommendations to address this problem including a call for increased funding for state anti-narcotics trafficking task forces and additional coordination between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in combatting transnational criminal organizations. The report is available here: https://oag.ca.gov/transnational-organized-crime.
Following the release of this report, Attorney General Harris led a delegation of state attorneys general to Mexico to strengthen working relationships between the governments of both countries to enhance efforts to combat transnational crime. The delegation met with Mexican state attorneys general and federal officials to discuss the issues of drug, human and firearms trafficking, money laundering and high-tech crime.
Charging documents are attached to the electronic version of this release at: https://oag.ca.gov/news.
Please note that a complaint contains only allegations against a person and, as with all defendants, those named here must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.