Plot to Smuggle Heroin and Methamphetamine into Fresno County Jail Results in Charges Against Inmate, Mother and Associate
FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment today against Alfredo Garcia Jr., 27; Eva Romero, 53; and Leo Torres, 30, of Fresno, charging them with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and at least five grams of methamphetamine. Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Special Agent in Charge Peter A. Vainauskas and Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced the indictment. Torres and Romero were also charged with distribution of controlled substances.
According to court documents, between Jan. 19 and Jan. 26, 2021, Garcia, Romero, and Torres conspired to smuggle heroin and methamphetamine into the Fresno County Jail for further distribution among inmates. Investigators uncovered the plan by listening to recorded jail calls, including calls between inmate Garcia and his mother, Romero. The calls revealed that the trio planned to sneak the drugs into the jail inside a pair of athletic shoes destined for an inmate. Their plot was foiled, however, when law enforcement at the jail intercepted the shoes and found hidden compartments inside them concealing the heroin and methamphetamine.
This case is the product of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the Fresno Police Department, and the Fresno County Jail. Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin J. Gilio is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, the defendants each face a mandatory minimum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a maximum statutory penalty of 40 years in prison and a $5 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 part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime. To learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods, go to www.justice.gov/psn.