NATIONWIDE INVESTIGATION WITH BAY AREA TIES LEADS TO SEVERAL ARRESTS AND LARGE SEIZURES
FEB 28 -- (OAKLAND, CA) – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) today announced the culmination of Operation Imperial Emperor, a multi-jurisdictional investigation that targeted an international drug trafficking and money laundering organization, with ties to the Bay Area. The DEA teamed up with international, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to dismantle an organization which had distribution cells that ranged from the South West Border to cities throughout the United States. As a result of the Bay Area investigation, led by the DEA Oakland Resident Office, 9 individuals were arrested on various drug and conspiracy charges and 9 state authorized search warrants were served. Seized in conjunction with the investigation was approximately $1 million US Currency, 25 kilograms of cocaine, 21 pounds ‘ice’ methamphetamine, a ballistic vest, several assault weapons and 4 vehicles, to include a Hummer and a Cadillac Escalade. The estimated street value of the drugs seized in this investigation is approximately $2.5 million.
“This case is by all accounts a huge success and millions of dollars of methamphetamine and cocaine have been seized because of it. It is also a reminder that the Bay Area remains a major distribution hub for drug traffickers. We must continue the successes of Operation Imperial Emperor by maintaining our focus on these organizations until they decide they don’t want to risk operating in our communities,” stated San Francisco Field Division DEA Special Agent in Charge Javier F. Peña.
In February 2006, agents identified Bay Area individuals having ties to this international organization. Throughout this investigation, law enforcement utilized electronic surveillance on various individuals associated with the organization which led to multiple seizures throughout the bay area. Agents believe these Bay Area drug trafficking cells distributed as far as Atlanta, GA. Operation Imperial Emperor targeted both the drug distribution cells and the money laundering networks of the Victor Emilio CAZARES-Salazar organization. CAZARES-Salazar was identified as the Mexico-based leader. Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Lucinda Simpson stated, “This is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished when agencies come together and work towards a common goal.”The following individuals on various state drug and conspiracy charges in the Bay Area investigation:
Nine state authorized search warrants were served at various locations related to the investigation in Tracy, King City, Modesto, Fairfield, Pinole, Hayward, and San Leandro. The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office are prosecuting this case. Deputy District Attorney Lucinda Simpson is the lead prosecutor assigned to the investigation.
This investigation was conducted with the assistance of Vallejo Police Department, Alameda Police Department, Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, Pleasanton Police Department, Tracy Police Department, Livermore Police Department, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), Alameda County Narcotics Task Force, West County Narcotics Enforcement Team, Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, Franklin County District Attorney’s Office, San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office, Northern California High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and South Central HIDTA.