Los Angeles, California - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrest of five individuals suspected of being associated with the Sinaloa Cartel, for trafficking 55 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of $2 million.
“California is the gateway for 70 percent of the methamphetamine trafficked into the United States from Mexico,” said Attorney General Harris. “This dangerous drug, and the actions of those who traffic and sell it, threatens the public health and safety of our communities. I thank our DOJ agents and local and federal partners for their commitment to dismantling transnational criminal organizations.”
Pedro Gallegos, 33, Teodoro Yau-Silva, 43, Bernardo Real-Rojo, 39, Anthony Perez, 29, and Jose Christian Rodriguez, 19, were arrested on charges of transportation of methamphetamine and possession for sales, as well as conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. They are suspected to be associated with the Sinaloa Cartel.
The arrests are a result of joint investigations between the Inland Crackdown Allied Task Force (INCA), which is led by the California Department of Justice (DOJ), the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Los Angeles Cartel Strike Force, and the Riverside Police Department.
In one investigation, an undercover California DOJ Bureau of Investigation Special Agent arranged to purchase 30 pounds of methamphetamine for $4,000 per pound and the suspects agreed to complete the transaction in two deliveries of 15 pounds each.
On July 22, 2015, suspects Pedro Gallegos and Teodoro Yau-Silva were arrested in an Ontario, California parking lot after they delivered the first installment of 15 pounds of methamphetamine to the undercover agent. The suspects were expecting payment of $60,000 for methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $750,000. In a separate investigation, an undercover California DOJ Bureau of Investigation Special Agent negotiated the purchase of 25 pounds of methamphetamine for $3,500 per pound. The negotiations were conducted by phone with members of the drug trafficking organization in Mexico and in-person with U.S. based representatives.
On July 16, 2015, Real-Rojo, Perez, and Rodriguez were arrested after they delivered 25 pounds of methamphetamine to the undercover agent in a public parking lot in Ontario. The suspects were expecting a payment of $87,500 for the methamphetamine that has an estimated street value of $1,250,000.
Gallegos, Yau-Silva, Real-Rojo, Perez, and Rodriguez are currently being held at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s West Valley Detention Center. Bail for the each suspect has been set at $500,000. Gallegos and Yau-Silva will be prosecuted by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office and Real-Rojo, Perez, and Rodriguez will be prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Attorney General’s report, Gangs Beyond Borders: California and the Fight Against Transnational Organized Crime, called the trafficking of methamphetamine from Mexico into California a growing threat to the state and a top priority for law enforcement. The report was the first comprehensive report analyzing the current state of transnational criminal organizations in California and the threats they pose to the state’s public safety and economy.
Following the release of this report, Attorney General Harris led a delegation of state attorneys general to Mexico to strengthen working relationships between the governments of both countries to enhance efforts to combat transnational crime. The delegation met with Mexican state attorneys general and federal officials to discuss the issues of drug, human and firearms trafficking, money laundering, and high-tech crime.