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23 Charged in Drug Distribution Conspiracy and Related Crimes
Indictment updates charges in a previously-filed criminal complaint that describes an extensive drug distribution network.

MAY 17 (SAN FRANCISCO) –A federal grand jury indicted 23 individuals, 22 of whom are Bay Area residents, for their respective roles in a conspiracy to engage in an extensive drug trafficking network, announced U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge John J. Martin and United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch.  The indictment was unsealed today.

The seventeen-count indictment charges that between March 22, 2016, and April 27, 2017, nineteen of the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to distribute at least 500 grams of methamphetamine and more than five kilograms of cocaine and heroin.  In addition, the indictment accuses all but one of the defendants of possession with intent to distribute drugs.  The defendant not accused of possessing and distributing drugs is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  The precise charges against each defendant, as well as their ages and places of residence, are set out in the chart below.

 

Defendant

Age/
Residence

Charges

Statute

Felix Galindo

32/
San Francisco

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Heroin

21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Possession With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine

21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(ii)(II)

Natalie Hernandez

21/
San Francisco

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Heroin

21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Possession With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine

21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(ii)(II)

Pedro Lopez-Galindo

30/
San Francisco

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Heroin

21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Possession With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine

21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(ii)(II)

Carolina Soto

28/
Daly City

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Heroin

21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Possession With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine

21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(ii)(II)

Rafael Romero-Rodriguez

20/
Fresno

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Heroin

21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Possession With Intent to Distribute Cocaine 500 Grams or More of Cocaine

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(ii)(II)

Ismael Rodriguez Loreto

33/
Fresno

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Heroin

21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Possession With Intent to Distribute Cocaine 500 Grams or More of Cocaine

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)

Possession With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(ii)(II)

Carlos Ferran Leon

33/
Hayward

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Heroin

21 U.S.C. § 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Possession With Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of A Mixture and Substance Containing Methamphetamine
(2 Counts)

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(viii)

Possession With Intent to Distribute 28 Grams or More of Cocaine Base

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(iii)

Possession With Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of A Mixture and Substance Containing Methamphetamine
(5 counts)

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(viii)

Possession With Intent to Distribute Heroin
(2 counts)

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C)

Jesus Chavez Espinoza

26/
San Jose

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Heroin

21 U.S.C.
§§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Possession With Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of A Mixture and Substance Containing Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(viii)

Efrain Torres

28/
San Jose

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Heroin

21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Possession With Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of A Mixture and Substance Containing Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(viii)

Henry Javier Lopez Alverto

29/
San Francisco

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Heroin

21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Xavier Eriberto Sanchez Hernandez

25/
San Francisco

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Heroin

21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Possession With Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of A Mixture and Substance Containing Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(viii)

Juan Jose Flores Jr.

38/
Daly City

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Heroin

21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Yader Rubi-Morales

25/
San Pablo

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Heroin

21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Branko Budimir

29/
San Francisco

Felon in possession of a firearm

18 U.S.C. § 922(g)

Julio Covarrubias

38/
San Francisco

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Heroin

21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Possession With Intent to Distribute Heroin
(3 counts)

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C)     

Possession With Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of A Mixture and Substance Containing Methamphetamine
(5 counts)

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(viii)           

Possession With Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of A Mixture and Substance Containing Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(viii)

Theresa Carter

27/
San Francisco

Possession With Intent to Distribute 28 Grams or More of Cocaine Base

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(iii)

Jose Villanueva-Canchola

28/
San Francisco

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Heroin

21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Anthony Balenzuela

56/
San Francisco

Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of a Mixture and Substance Containing Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(viii)

Lillian Larios

37/
San Francisco

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Heroin

21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Antonio Serranorivas

21/
San Francisco

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Heroin

21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Possession With Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of A Mixture and Substance Containing Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(viii)

Stephen Asmus

25/
Redding

Possession With Intent to Distribute Heroin

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C)

Lucy Lopez

40/
San Leandro

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Heroin

21 U.S.C.
§§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Robert Zander Seaton

33/
San Francisco

Possession With Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of A Mixture and Substance Containing Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

The indictment follows the filing of a criminal complaint on April 25, 2017, and updates the charges against the six defendants who were named in that original complaint: Pedro Lopez-Galindo, Felix Lopez-Galindo, Natalie Hernandez, Carolina Soto, Ismael Rodriguez-Loreto, and Rafael Romero-Rodriguez.  According to the complaint, the DEA had been investigating a drug trafficking organization since November of 2016, and believed that the organization distributed large quantities of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine in California and other states.  The complaint accuses Felix Lopez-Galindo of running the organization with the help of his brother, Pedro Lopez-Galindo.  Pedro is described in the complaint as Felix’s “right-hand man.”   Also described in the complaint are two seizures by the DEA of cocaine.  As a result of the first seizure, on April 13, 2017, the DEA intercepted at least 500 grams of cocaine headed from Fresno to Northern California.  The second seizure occurred April 20, 2017, and resulted in the confiscation of more than 5 kilograms of cocaine.  

The indictment unsealed today includes all the charges made in the original complaint and adds an additional 17 defendants.  The indictment also describes more than a dozen additional transactions in which two or more of the defendants are alleged to have possessed, purchased, or sold cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine. 

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  The maximum statutory penalties for the crimes of which the defendants have been accused are as follows:

Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine, and Heroin

21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)

Minimum 10 years prison
Maximum lifetime imprisonment
Minimum 5 years supervised release following incarceration
Maximum lifetime supervised release
Maximum $10,000,000 fine

Possession With Intent to Distribute Cocaine 500 Grams or More of Cocaine

21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(ii)(II)

Minimum 5 years prison
Maximum 40 years
Minimum 4 years supervised release following incarceration
Maximum lifetime supervised release
Maximum $5,000,000 fine

Possession With Intent to Distribute Cocaine 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine

21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(ii)(II)             

Minimum 10 years prison
Maximum lifetime imprisonment
Minimum  years supervised release following incarceration
Maximum lifetime supervised release
Maximum $10,000,000 fine

Possession With Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of A Mixture and Substance Containing Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(viii)

Minimum 10 years imprisonment
Maximum lifetime imprisonment
Minimum 5 years supervised release following incarceration
Maximum lifetime supervised release
Maximum $10,000,000 fine

Possession With Intent to Distribute 28 Grams or More of Cocaine Base

21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(iii)

Minimum 5 years prison
Maximum 40 years
Minimum 4 years supervised release following incarceration
Maximum lifetime supervised release
Maximum $5,000,000 fine

Possession With Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of A Mixture and Substance Containing Methamphetamine

21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(viii)

Minimum 5 years prison
Maximum 40 years
Minimum 4 years supervised release following incarceration
Maximum lifetime supervised release
Maximum $5,000,000 fine

Possession With Intent to Distribute Heroin

21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C)     

Maximum 20 years imprisonment
Maximum lifetime supervised release following incarceration
Minimum 3 years supervised release
Maximum $1,000,000 fine

Felon in Possession of a Firearm

18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1)

Maximum 10 years in prison
Maximum 3 years supervised release
Maximum $250,000 fine

Further, additional fines, forfeitures, denial of federal benefits, deportation, and restitution may be ordered; however, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553. 

Several of the defendants were arrested yesterday as part of a criminal enforcement operation.   The coordinated arrests and searches took place in San Francisco, Daly City, and San Jose.  The first district court appearance for defendants is on June 15, 2017, before the Honorable William H. Orrick
           

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sheila Armbrust and Rita Lin are prosecuting the case.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the DEA with assistance from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the U.S. Marshals Service; Daly City Police Department Redwood City Police Department; San Francisco Police Department; South San Francisco Police Department; California Highway Patrol; San Bruno Police Department; San Mateo Narcotics Task Force; Alameda County Sheriff’s Office; Richmond Police Department; San Francisco Sherriff’s Department; and the Long Beach Police Department.  The investigation is part of this district’s Organized Drug Enforcement Task Force program.

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