Sinaloa drug cartel distributor sentenced to 180 months in prison
LOS ANGELES – The culmination of a four-year investigation resulted in a member of the Sinaloa Drug Cartel being sentenced on Dec. 6, 2019 to 180 months in federal prison for narcotics and weapons violations.
Jesus Raul Salazar-Espinoza a.k.a. “Pedro,” 51, of Sinaloa, Mexico, was sentenced by United States District Judge André Birotte Jr.
In May 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Salazar on the following five counts:
Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine;
Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin;
Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl;
Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime;
Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition
On Nov. 2, 2018, Salazar pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
The Los Angeles Strike Force Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force identified Jesus Raul Salazar-Espinoza a.k.a. “Pedro” as a Sinaloa Drug Cartel mid-level distributor, who coordinated drug-distribution activities in Los Angeles, Mexico and throughout the United States. The investigation revealed that Salazar had previously been deported to Mexico multiple times over the years, but had illegally re-entered the U.S. to continue his drug distribution criminal enterprise. Salazar led a Los Angeles based Drug Trafficking Organization that was fully operational and active for over 20 years. Salazar’s DTO consistently supplied narcotics, which included cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine and marijuana to major street gangs such as the Compton-based “Santana Blocc” Crips, the Long Beach-based “Insane Crips,” the Long Beach-based “Rollin’ 20s” Gang, the Mississippi-based Gangster Disciples Gang, and the Mississippi-based Vice Lords Gang and career drug dealers nationwide. The investigation further revealed that Salazar would routinely arrange narcotics deliveries and money pick-ups with his Mexico-based Sources of Supply from the Sinaloa Drug Cartel.
“The coordination and collaboration between all of our law enforcement partners helped bring to justice a prolific drug cartel member that eroded the safety of our community in Los Angeles,” said Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Division William D. Bodner.
“Mr. Salazar’s 15-year prison sentence is a result of the tireless efforts of law enforcement to bring drug traffickers to justice,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “This case illustrates that drug traffickers will face severe consequences for spreading poison across American communities.”
The Los Angeles Strike Force investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, in partnership with the United States Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Agencies participating in this investigation included the Manhattan Beach Police Department; Long Beach Police Department; Beverly Hills Police Department; Lorain County Drug Task Force (Ohio); United States Postal Inspection Service; United States Border Patrol; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; the United States Marshals Service – Los Angeles Special Response Team; the California Department of Justice-Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement; the California Highway Patrol; the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation – Special Services Unit and the Los Angeles County Probation Department.
The Los Angeles Strike Force was formed in 2014 to target Mexican drug cartels that utilize the Los Angeles metropolitan region as a primary hub for the distribution of narcotics across the United States. The goals of the Strike Force are to target high-level narcotics traffickers, disrupt and dismantle the cartels’ narcotics trafficking and related money laundering activities, and arrest and prosecute the cartels’ leaders and operatives.