California Department of Justice Announces Results of Investigation into Large-Scale Drug Trafficking Operation in the Central Valley

Thursday, April 22, 2021
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the results of a search warrant operation in Huntington Beach by the DOJ-led Merced Area Gang & Narcotic Enforcement Team (MAGNET) that led to the arrest of Luis Armando Romero Jr. of Turlock. Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California Phillip A. Talbert announced today that Romero Jr. faces a one-count indictment charging him with distribution of methamphetamine based on an alleged sale in Merced County earlier this year.

In January, MAGNET began an investigation into the source of the supply of methamphetamine in Merced County. The investigation culminated in a search warrant operation on Romero Jr.’s Huntington Beach residence on April 6, 2021. During the search, agents seized approximately 280 pounds of methamphetamine, 25 kilograms of cocaine, 20 pounds of fentanyl pills, three kilograms of fentanyl powder, two pounds of heroin, and over $73,000 in U.S. currency. The estimated street value of the drugs that were seized is over $10 million. MAGNET agents were assisted during the operation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Huntington Beach Police Department. Romero Jr. was arrested during the search.

MAGNET is a multiagency taskforce led by DOJ that is federally funded through the national High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. It is comprised of members from the California Department of Justice, Merced County Sheriff’s Office, Merced Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Merced County Probation Department, Merced County District Attorney’s Office, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Today’s charges are the result of effective multiagency and multijurisdictional collaboration by all the law enforcement agencies involved. Together, agents were able to zero in and take down an individual allegedly involved in trafficking illegal drugs in Merced County.

It is important to note that every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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