Drug Enforcement Administration

San Francisco

Christopher Nielsen, Special Agent in Charge

June 07, 2017

Contact: Casey Rettig

Phone Number: (415) 436-7900

Sacramento Methamphetamine Trafficker Sentenced

Sold Meth to Distributors in Hawaii; also Sentenced for Selling Assault Rifles

SACRAMENTO, C.A. - Algernon Tamasoa, 28, of Sacramento, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to eight years in prison for his participation in a methamphetamine trafficking organization and for selling dangerous assault rifles, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

On January 11, 2017, Tamasoa pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and dealing firearms without a license.  According to court documents, Tamasoa conspired with co-defendant Epati Malauulu, 42, of Suisun City, and others to purchase high quality methamphetamine in California and ship it into Hawaii where it sold at a large profit on Oahu, an area hit particularly hard by the crystal methamphetamine epidemic.

Co-defendants John Ortiz, 44, of Vallejo; and Francisco Poloai, 45, of Dixon, were also charged in the drug conspiracy in the Eastern District of California. Ultimately, the drug investigation led to 44 defendants being charged in the District of Hawaii and four being charged in the Northern District of (San Francisco).

According to court documents, between February 6, 2015, and May 27, 2015, Tamasoa sold 11 assault rifles to an undercover agent. Several of the rifles had high-capacity magazines. Tamasoa provided ammunition in addition to the firearm in the first four firearm sales. These assault weapons shoot high-velocity bullets that go through the bulletproof vests that most law enforcement officers wear. They also can go through walls and doors in an urban setting. Two of the assault rifles were manufactured by unlicensed gun makers and lacked serial numbers, making them untraceable.

On April 26, 2017, Malauulu was sentenced to 20 years in prison, and on May 17, 2017, Ortiz was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the methamphetamine trafficking activity. Poloai, the sole remaining defendant in the drug trafficking case, is scheduled for trial on September 25, 2017. The charges against Poloai are only allegations; he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is the product of an investigation by the DEA, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Solano County Multi-Jurisdictional Methamphetamine Enforcement Team, the Solano County Sheriff’s Office, the Fairfield Police Department, the Vallejo Police Department, the San Francisco Police Department, the Honolulu Police Department, and others. Assistant United States Attorney Richard Bender is prosecuting the Sacramento case.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task (OCDETF), a focused multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

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