Operation Durex Nets, 4 Arrests, 65 Kilograms Of Cocaine, Counterfeit Money And Weapons
OAKLAND – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Oakland Resident Office, the Richmond Police Department, West Narcotics Enforcement Team (WESTNET), and the Vallejo Police Department announced today the arrest of 4 individuals in an investigation in which law enforcement seized 65 kilograms of cocaine, counterfeit money and weapons to include an Uzi, M14, and handguns.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Javier F. Peña stated, "Drug dealers can run and they can hide, but eventually they’ll get caught, just like this group of individuals. Instead of spreading joy during this holiday season, they decided to spread cocaine around the state. As a result, they will be hanging their stocking in a jail cell this year.”
The DEA Oakland Resident Office began their investigation into this organization approximately one year ago. The culmination of the investigation came on November 30, 2005, when based on the Oakland case, agents learned that Ivan Luque-Lopez, 33, of Benica, was going to pick up approximately 20 kilograms of cocaine in Moreno Valley, CA and return to the Bay Area. Agents observed Luque-Lopez receiving the cocaine, which was subsequently seized by law enforcement. As a result of the seizure, a follow-up state authorized search warrant was served in the 21000 block of Spring Crest Drive, Moreno Valley. At this location law enforcement seized approximately 45 kilograms of cocaine.
The investigation suggests that Sergio Vega-Robles, 26, of Fairfield, distributed large amounts of drugs, to include cocaine, throughout the Richmond/Vallejo area. Furthermore, agents believe the cocaine seized from Luque-Lopez in Moreno Valley was destined for Vega-Robles. Agents arrested Vega-Robles on November 30, while he was traveling on Highway 80 near the Solano Road exit.
Agents identified numerous residences associated with the investigation and subsequent federal search warrants were served on December 1. Additional search warrants were served and arrests were made at the following locations: the 5100 block of Tuscany Drive, Fairfield, where no contraband was seized; 1900 block of Clarendon Drive, Fairfield, where law enforcement seized ammunition, small amounts of methamphetamine and arrested Coby Phillips, 32, of Fairfield; 100 block of Ardmore Way, Benicia, from which officers seized an Uzi, M14, a handgun and arrested Jose Vega Ochoa Sr. (father of Vega-Robles), 51, of Benicia; 100 block of Greenbriar Circle, Petaluma, where law enforcement seized a handgun and the 8000 block of Tolkien Avenue, Sacramento, from which agents seized counterfeit money, small amounts of heroin, marijuana, and cocaine.
This ongoing investigation is being prosecuted by the United States Attorneys Office in the Northern District of California. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Laettner is prosecuting this case. The defendants made their initial appearances in federal courts in Oakland, Sacramento and Los Angeles on December 2, 2005, where they were all charged with federal drug violations including conspiracy to distribute over 5 kilograms of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute over 5 kilograms of cocaine, and money laundering.
The statutory penalty for conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute over 5 kilograms of cocaine carries a 10 year mandatory minimum sentence, with a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $4 million fine. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of money laundering is 20 years in prison and $500,000 fine. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.