Drug Enforcement Administration

San Francisco

Christopher Nielsen, Special Agent in Charge

January 23, 2018

Contact: Casey Rettig

Phone Number: (415) 436-7900

Taft Drug Trafficker Receives 10-year Prison Sentence Distribution Of Heroin, Cocaine And Methamphetamine

FRESNO, Calif. - Mario Alvarez-Muniz, aka Cirilio Cardenas-Alvarez, 49, a citizen of Mexico and former resident of Taft, was sentenced on Monday to 10 years and one month in prison for conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge John J. Martin announced.

Alvarez-Muniz pleaded guilty on October 30, 2017. According to court documents, Alvarez-Muniz, a self-employed tow truck driver, was a long-time distributer of drugs to the Pacific Northwest and Midwest that he obtained from Mexico and Guatemala. Alvarez-Muniz was arrested in Bakersfield after delivering two pounds of methamphetamine during an undercover drug transaction and orchestrating a shipment of six kilograms of heroin and 11 kilograms of cocaine to Chicago; the drugs destined for Chicago were seized in Bakersfield. At the time of his arrest, Alvarez-Muniz was on probation for a prior felony drug conviction.

Co-defendant Darrell Leon Jennings, 49, is charged with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine. He is currently a fugitive. Anyone with information concerning Jennings is encouraged to contact the U.S. Marshals Service at 1-800-336-0102.

The charges are only allegations; he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task (OCDETF) investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, California Highway Patrol, Bakersfield Police Department, and Kern County Probation Office. The OCDETF program was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Escobar is prosecuting the case.

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