News Release
Date: June 25, 2010
Contact: Casey McEnry
Number: 415-436-7994

Large-Scale Methamphetamine Distribution Organization
Shut Down

JUN 25 -- FRESNO, Calif. — United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today federal criminal complaints charging Fernando Avila, 38, of Delhi, Rafael Mendez Esparza 37, of Merced; David Godinez, aka Joselo, 28, of Modesto; Jose Refugio Alcantar, aka Joaquin, 26, of Ceres; Uriel Contreras Cortes, 41, of Ceres; Erik Cervantes-Aguilar, 26, of Ceres; and Miguel Para-Rosas, 27, of Ceres; with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.

This case is the product of an extensive year-long investigation by the Fresno Methamphetamine Task Force (FMTF), a part of the Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, the California Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, and the Fresno Resident Office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Kathleen A. Servatius is prosecuting the case.

The complaints allege that agents of the Fresno Methamphetamine Task Force began investigating Godinez and Avila as early as May 2010, resulting in the seizure of approximately 17.9 pounds of methamphetamine on May 17, 2010 and the arrest of Esparza. On June 22, 2010, agents executed search warrants in Merced and Stanislaus counties resulting in the seizure of more than 35 pounds of methamphetamine and the arrests of the remaining individuals.

If convicted, the defendants face a mandatory 10-year term in prison and as much as life in prison, and a $4 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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