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DEA: Sacramento-area meth trafficking ring busted | Crime

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DEA: Sacramento-area meth trafficking ring busted
Crime

SACRAMENTO, CA - Seven men, most of them from Sacramento, were arrested Thursday on allegations they ran a methamphetamine distribution operation.

The Drug Enforcement Administration investigation began last August. According to the criminal complaint, DEA agents used a confidential source, undercover buys, court-sanctioned phone taps and surveillance to build their case for arrest warrants for:

  • Armando Flores Vasquez of Sacramento
  • Serafin Magallon of Atwater
  • Jose Maneul Garica of Garcia
  • Luis Fernando Morales of Sacramento
  • Joshua Avila of Rio Linda
  • Miguel Angel Rangel of San Jose
  • Salvador Padilla of Sacramento

Vasquez, Magallon and Rangel were the alleged ring leaders of the operation.

READ: Criminal complaint

The complaint details how agents deciphered intercepted drug code such as "ventilator' meaning 20 pounds of narcotics, "office" implying the stash house and "hand" or "manuela" as five pounds of narcotics to help support their case for the arrests.

Agents soon figured out what the code words, in both Spanish and English, meant.

Search warrants were also executed for eight residences and four vehicles associated with the suspects. They are accused of conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine and unlawful use of a communications facility.

Most of the meth was stored at a home on Mangrum Avenue in South Sacramento, where neighbors heard an explosion as DEA agents hit the house on Wednesday.

"A SWAT team with about 15 guys in there with covered faces and what looked like high-powered rifles," said neighbor Fernando Guzman, who was told to move out of the area by agents.

Guzman said the men who came in and out of the house were polite but had no interest in getting to know their neighbors.

"They didn't want to know anything about me and they definitely didn't want me to know anything about them," Guzman said.

A criminal complaint said the organization had ties to Las Vegas and Hawaii and sold meth in quantities of up to several pounds at a time.

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