May 17, 2017
Contact: Casey Rettig
Phone Number: (415) 436-7994
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.
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 (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.
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:
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