23 February 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – The U.S. Attor…

23 February 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California announced today the arrest of 15 suspects associated with the alleged Borrego drug-trafficking organization. Fourteen of the individuals were charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute, and with distributing cocaine. They were additionally charged with conspiring to conduct financial transactions that were designed to conceal unlawful activity, and using a telephone to facilitate a drug crime. One other defendant was arrested on an immigration violation.

This organization is suspected of transporting with the intent to distribute large amounts of cocaine and heroin from suppliers in Mexico to the San Francisco Bay Area. On February 18, 2005, agents of the FBI, DEA, IRS, ICE, and officers of the San Francisco Police Department, the State of California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement (BNE), and the San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force (SMCNTF), seized approximately 20 pounds of black tar heroin, 22 pounds of cocaine, 7 pounds of crack cocaine. Agents also seized approximately $30,000 in cash and 9 firearms (three rifles, three shotguns, one handgun and two submachine guns). Authorities also seized a Toyota Highlander, and earlier in the week seized another 22 pounds of cocaine. Prior to the previous week’s seizures, this investigation led to the seizure of over 10 pounds of heroin and over 10 pounds of cocaine. To date, the total amount of drugs seized in this investigation is over 30 pounds of heroin and 54 pounds of cocaine, some of the largest seizures ever for this area.

Wiretaps authorized by a federal judge led to the interception of communications that led to the arrests of the individuals involved in this alleged organization. On February 18, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies searched fifteen residences and five vehicles. According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, the alleged activity involved the use of code words and an organized system of transporting the drugs from Mexico and distributing them throughout the Bay Area.

U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan said, “These arrests show that we are serious about disrupting dangerous international drug trafficking organizations. These seizures mark some of the largest amounts of heroin ever seized in this area. I am thankful for the collaboration of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in this effort. This collaboration is vital in our efforts to keep these dangerous drugs off our streets.”

Mark Mershon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI said, “The FBI is committed to devoting the resources needed to investigate and bring to justice those individuals involved in drug trafficking. This initiative shines a spotlight on law enforcement’s tremendous success in the fight against drug distribution in the Bay Area.

“‘El Trebol,’ as this operation was dubbed, was successful due only to the collaborative efforts of several law enforcement agencies. The DEA, SFPD, FBI, IRS, BNE and the US Attorney’s Office have all contributed to taking down the Borrego Organization. A round up of this magnitude is not only a feather in the cap of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, but is reflective of the history and tradition of cooperation among them all. Sophisticated international criminal organizations have now seen an unwavering and collective force with which to be reckoned,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Javier Pena.

The statutory penalty for conspiracy to distribute and distribution of cocaine is a minimum 10 year mandatory prison sentence and a maximum of life in prison. All of these defendants must be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The prosecution is the result of a two year investigation. Dave Hall is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release and related court filings may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can . Related court documents and information may be found on the U.S. District Court website at www.cand.uscourts.gov or on .

All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at [email protected] .

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