Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Seizure of $5 Million Worth of Cocaine from Mexican Cartel
SAN FRANCISCO --- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced the seizure last week of more than 50 kilos of cocaine worth an estimated $5 million as part of a Department of Justice-led undercover operation targeting the Guadalajara Cartel, an organization that smuggles large quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine into California.
Department of Justice special agents from the Inland Crackdown Allied Task Force (INCA) conducted an undercover sting operation into the cartel’s drug trafficking activities. An undercover agent arranged to purchase cocaine from two individuals associated with the cartel. Last Thursday, at a prearranged meeting in a parking lot in Bellflower, agents arrested the two men and seized 42 kilos of cocaine. The Long Beach Police Department assisted the task force by serving a search warrant at a stash house in Bell Gardens, and seized an additional 9 kilos of cocaine and approximately $39,500 in drug proceeds.
Giovani Flores-Arias of Sinaloa, Mexico and Rene Guerrero of Indio, CA, were arrested and booked at the Long Beach Police Department. Flores is being held without bail and Guerrero is being held on $2 million bail. If convicted, the men each face a maximum of 25 years in state prison.
Some of the cocaine – which has an estimated street value of $5.1 million – was slated to be transported across the country for distribution. Previously, agents seized 22 pounds of methamphetamine from the Guadalajara drug cartel.
The operation is the latest in a series of successful DOJ-led operations targeting transnational gang crime across California. In June, DOJ agents led a multi-agency operation that led to the arrests of 101 transnational gang leaders and members in the Central Valley (http://oag.ca.gov/news/press_release?id=2512&y=&m=). In July, agents seized 18 kilos of cocaine from a vehicle that crossed the border at the Calexico port of entry (http://oag.ca.gov/news/press_release?id=2538&y=&m=). In August, the DOJ dismantled a large-scale U.S.-Mexico prescription drug trafficking operation (http://oag.ca.gov/news/press_release?id=2553&y=&m=).
In responding to transnational gang crime in California, the state Department of Justice provides a wide range of investigative skills and forensic resources. The Inland Crackdown Allied Task Force (INCA) is one of 52 California Department of Justice-led task forces that coordinate the response to our state’s growing gang and drug trafficking problems.
The Attorney General’s INCA Task Force is composed of the following agencies: Beaumont Police Department, California Alcohol Beverage and Control, California Highway Patrol, Corona Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Murrieta Police Department, Ontario Police Department, Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Riverside Police Department and the San Bernardino Police Department.
A photo of the seized narcotics is attached to the electronic version of this release, which can be viewed at http://oag.ca.gov/.