Defendants from Tulare and Merced counties incited for multitude of drug trafficking charges, in addition to racketeering
FRESNO – Multiple men were busted for distribution of methamphetamine and fentanyl, and currently face a minimum of 10 years, with others facing life.
On Nov. 10, A federal grand jury returned a 24-count indictment today against seven defendants, charging them with drug trafficking offenses, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced. According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, the seven defendants, who span from Tulare to Merced county, were:
- Cesar Losoya-Castrejon, 46, of Tulare
- Arturo Farias-Zepeda, 52, of Atwater
- Juan Cesar Valencia-Zepeda, 38, of Merced
- Roberto Soria-Cuevas, 62, of Yettem, Tulare County
- Ricardo Rivas-Arredondo, 31, of Earlimart
- Jose Adan Chaidez Ojeda, 38, of Earlimart
- Julio Cesar Vargas-Birrueta, 30, of Yettem
Losoya-Castrejon is being charged with two counts of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and fentanyl, twelve counts of distribution of methamphetamine and fentanyl, one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of using a cellphone in aid of racketeering.
Valencia-Zepeda, 38, of Merced, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and one count of distribution of methamphetamine. Soria-Cuevas and Rivas-Arredondo are also being charged with one count of distribution of methamphetamine. Farias-Zepeda is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, three counts of distribution of methamphetamine, and one count of using a cellphone in aid of racketeering.
Ojeda is charged with one count of distribution of methamphetamine and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Vargas-Birrueta is charged with one count of distribution of fentanyl and one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.
According to court documents, between October 2021 and October 2022, Losoya-Castrejon, with the assistance of Farias-Zepeda, Valencia-Zepeda, Soria-Cuevas, Arredondo and Chaidez Ojeda, distributed over 130 pounds of methamphetamine to a confidential source. On Oct. 12, 2022, agents uncovered an active methamphetamine conversion laboratory in Ducor, Tulare County, that was used to convert liquid methamphetamine into crystal methamphetamine for distribution. During their search, law enforcement seized roughly 500 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and 500 gallons of liquid methamphetamine from the laboratory.
If convicted, each defendant faces a range of maximum sentences, including up to life in prison. All of the defendants also face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, but that will ultimately be decided upon at the discretion of the court.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the San Joaquin County Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force, and the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, the Tulare County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Unit (HIDTA).
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven and multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at www.justice.gov/OCDETF.