LOS ANGELES, CA – The lead defendant in a federal drug case involving the distribution of multi-pound quantities of methamphetamine in the Long Beach area has been sentenced to 22 years in federal prison.
Vincent Anthony Ramirez, aka “Toro” and “Big T,” 41, was sentenced August 4, 2011, by United States District Judge Dean D. Pregerson.
Ramirez, who prior to his arrest in 2009 resided in Long Beach and Lake Elsinore, pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and conspiracy to launder drug money. In court documents filed in relation to yesterday’s sentencing hearing, prosecutors said Ramirez “was a large-scale methamphetamine merchant who profited handsomely from the addiction of many methamphetamine abusers.” Ramirez personally distributed ten times the amount of methamphetamine that triggers a 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentence.
Ramirez was among 29 defendants indicted on drug charges in 2009 as part of “Operation Knock Out,” which remains the nation’s largest-ever gang sweep. Ramirez and some of his co-defendants were members of the Eastside Paramount street gang, which was one of the street gangs targeted in a wiretap investigation that led to seven indictments being issued by federal grand juries. Operation Knock Out, which began after the fatal shooting of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy Jerry Ortiz in 2005, culminated in approximately 170 gang members and associates being taken into custody on federal charges.
Operation Knock Out was an investigation into Varrio Hawaiian Gardens and other gangs that was conducted by the Los Angeles High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, which is comprised of agents and officers with the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; and IRS - Criminal Investigation.