Madera and Fresno residents indicted for methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy
Approximately 134 pounds of methamphetamine seized
FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment today against Diblaim Alan Valdez-Araux, 31, of Madera, and Fresno residents Erick Lizarraga, 28; Perla Ramos, 29; Brittany Martinez, 26; David Martinez, 66; Rosemarie Martinez, 64; Jesus Bueno, 27; Noyra Gonzalez, 41; and Maricela Castellanos, 54, charging them with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Chris Nielsen announced.
According to court documents, the defendants were involved in trafficking large quantities of methamphetamine in the Fresno – Madera area, as well as sending methamphetamine to Denver, Colorado. Lizarraga allegedly arranged two shipments to Denver that were seized by law enforcement. On Oct. 13, 2018, David and Rosemarie Martinez had 30 pounds of methamphetamine with them that they were taking to Denver via Amtrak. On Oct. 15, 2018, after Lizarraga arranged for Diblaim Valdez-Araux to get another 30 pounds, Noyra Gonzalez and Maricela Castellanos were arrested while taking the 30 pounds to Denver after their car was stopped and searched by the California Highway Patrol. Jesus Bueno purchased approximately 20 pounds of methamphetamine from Lizarraga that he sold to customers in the Fresno area. On Nov. 4, 2018, Valdez-Diblaim was stopped in Selma by the Fresno Sheriff’s Department with approximately 54 pounds of methamphetamine while returning from the Los Angeles area. Perla Ramos and Brittany Martinez are believed to have assisted Lizarraga in delivering drugs and collecting profits.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of ten years to life in prison and a $1 million fine. Any sentence, however, would 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. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is the product of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fresno County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, and Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurel J. Montoya is prosecuting the case.
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.