A federal grand jury returned a 13-count indictment this week against 14 people, charging them with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. The Shelton Police Department, as well as the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, assisted in the bust.
Law enforcement seized 14 kilograms of methamphetamine, two kilograms of cocaine and one kilogram of heroin, said Shelton Police Chief Darrin Moody.
Most of those charged in the indictment are from California, including Olegario Trujillo, 29, of Fresno; Arnold Martinez Valencia, 39, of Woodlake; Edgar Valencia-Farias of Tulare; Caesar Alejandro Gomez, 33, of Fresno; Gladys Ramos, 30, of Woodlake; Carlos Tafoya-Ramos, 22, of Woodlake; Marcos Diaz, 23, of Madera; Ramiro Salas Munoz, 37, of Lindsay; Arthur Allen Walker, 32, of Poplar; Francisca Torres-Guisar, 51, of Visalia; Pedro Delgado-Montenegro, 36, of Porterville; Jose Roberto Arreola-Serrato, 31, of Tulare; and Jorge Martinez Jr., 23, of Tulare. Also charged was Gary Passmore, 65, of Washington state.
Federal authorities believe Trujillo was the leader of a large-scale drug trafficking organization, responsible for distributing methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin in California and Washington, Moody said. Delgado-Montenegro and Arreola-Serrato allegedly supplied him with meth, said Moody.
Trujillo allegedly directed several of the other charged individuals to deliver drugs and instructed them as to the disposition of drug proceeds, according to Moody. Moody said police believe Martinez Valencia worked with Trujillo, managing the drug distribution to Shelton.
The case was the product of a Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area investigation conducted by the Central Valley Marijuana Investigation Team, comprised of a number of state and federal law enforcement agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, California Department of Justice-Bureau of Investigation, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office in California, and King County Sheriff’s Office in Washington.
Moody said the Shelton Police Department executed a search warrant on a local house in connection to the investigation. Passmore was taken into custody during the search and Moody said he was connected to the residence, which he referred to as a “safe house” and distribution point.
“As a neighbor you would not have looked at (the house) and said, ‘this is a drug house,’” Moody said. “When you’re in this large-scale operation, you’ve got to have locations where you can drop off your stuff and feel safe at.”
Moody said the warrant was executed several weeks ago and he could not disclose the location of the house.
If convicted, Trujillo faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine. The remaining defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine, Moody said.