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Three Plead Guilty to Charges Related to Methamphetamine Trafficking in Kern County

OCT 14 (FRESNO, Calif.) – Three men entered guilty pleas to drug-related charges arising out of two different cases. In the first case, two Southern California residents pleaded guilty today to use of an interstate facility to aid racketeering, and in the second case, a Bakersfield resident pleaded guilty today to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Southern California men plead guilty to using a cellphone to aid racketeering

According to court documents, Luis Alfonso Mendivil, 22, of Riverside, and Jonathen Leyva, 27, of Rialto, admitted that they conspired with others to distribute approximately 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamine. From September 1, 2013, to October 22, 2013, they used a cellphone to carry on an unlawful methamphetamine distribution operation in Bakersfield.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.
         
Both men are scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill on December 22, 2014. Mendivil and Levya face a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 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.

Bakersfield man pleads guilty to methamphetamine distribution conspiracy

According to court documents, Juan Angel Lopez, 32, of Bakersfield, admitted that from March 1, 2014, to July 10, 2014, he knowingly and intentionally conspired with others to distribute methamphetamine in Bakersfield. On April 18, 2013, a Kern County Sheriff’s deputy stopped Lopez’s vehicle and, hidden under the center console, found two firearms, a distribution amount of methamphetamine in a clear plastic bag, and $844 in cash. Also found in the vehicle were four cellphones. Lopez admitted that he knowingly possessed the 74.31 grams of methamphetamine seized from his vehicle and also acknowledged that he possessed the two firearms, which he was prohibited from possessing since he was a previously convicted felon.

This case is the product of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation that is composed of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, the Bakersfield Police Department, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Southern Tri-County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force.

Lopez is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge O'Neill on December 22, 2014. Lopez faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $10 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.

Assistant United States Attorney Brian Delaney is prosecuting both cases.


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