A federal judge in California handed down a 15-year prison sentence on July 8 to a 48-year-old Colton man. The man, who is alleged to be a member of a Los Angeles criminal gang, was convicted on three felony firearm and drug charges following a bench trial in March that lasted for just one day. The custodial sentence will be followed by supervised release for a period of five years. The judge who passed sentence was also the judge who found the man guilty of possessing a gun while trafficking drugs, drug possession with the intent to distribute, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The California attorney general announced in a June 16 press conference that a local, state and federal law enforcement initiative named "Operation Red Reaper" had resulted in the apprehension of 54 individuals and the seizure of more than 36 pounds of illegal drugs. Becerra was joined at the press conference by the Kings County Sherriff and a prosecutor from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California.
Police involved in an undercover narcotics investigation took a woman and three men into custody at a dog boarding facility in Orange County on June 5. Media reports suggest that one of the men owns the facility. The four suspects have been booked on charges including suspicion of possessing drugs and suspicion of possessing drug paraphernalia. According to the Fullerton Police Department, the facility was being used to provide day-care services to pet owners in the community as well as sell drugs including heroin and methamphetamine.
On May 17, California authorities announced that two men were arrested for allegedly operating a drug-trafficking ring in Apple Valley. The defendants are reportedly linked to the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico.
Federal prosecutors have announced that three men have been charged with laundering money and distributing illegal drugs on a website that hid its activities on what is known as the dark net. Federal authorities worked with law enforcement agencies in Germany and other countries during the investigation according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California. The three men apprehended are all German nationals and face additional charges in their home country.
A 24-year-old woman and her 36-year-old boyfriend were charged with felony counts of transporting a controlled substance on April 10 after 44 pounds of the deadly opioid fentanyl were allegedly found in their car during a traffic stop. The seized narcotics are said to have a street value in excess of $1.5 million. The woman is being detained at a Las Colinas detention facility, and the man has been transported to the San Diego County Jail. The bail for each defendant has been set at $750,000.
Former Major League Baseball pitcher Esteban Loaiza was sentenced to three years in prison followed by five years of probation by a California federal court judge on March 8 after pleading guilty to a felony drug possession charge. Loaiza entered into a plea agreement with U.S. attorneys in August 2018. The charge he was convicted of carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The former All-Star Game starter will also be deported to his home country of Mexico after completing his sentence.