San Jose Man Sentenced to More Than 16 years
Following Jury Convictions for Meth Trafficking and Gun Charges
SAN FRANCISCO – Armando Daniel Calderon was sentenced today in United States District Court to 198 months in federal prison following convictions for two counts of methamphetamine trafficking, one count of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine, and one count of carrying a firearm during drug trafficking, announced United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Wade R. Shannon. The sentence was handed down by Senior United States District Judge William Alsup.
On June 23, 2021, a federal jury convicted Calderon, 35, most recently from San Jose, of the following four counts:
- possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance
containing methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A), on August 20, 2018;
- carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), on August 20, 2018;
- conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, during the month of September 2018; and
- possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A), on September 25, 2018.
According to evidence presented at trial, on August 20, 2018, San Jose State University Police Department officers stopped Calderon’s pickup truck in the vicinity of Keyes Street and South 3rd Street in San Jose. Calderon was the driver and sole occupant. Police officers learned that Calderon had multiple outstanding arrest warrants and took him into custody. Upon arrest, officers discovered $5,363 in cash and six .40 caliber bullets in Calderon’s pants pockets. Inside the truck, officers found three bags. One bag contained methamphetamine and .40 caliber ammunition. The second contained methamphetamine. The third contained a high-capacity pistol magazine loaded with 18 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition. Officers also discovered a .40 caliber pistol loaded with nine rounds of .40 caliber ammunition next to the driver’s seat.
In total, police recovered approximately 1.83 pounds of methamphetamine from Calderon’s truck.
Further evidence presented at trial showed that in September 2018 – just weeks after the traffic stop – Calderon conspired to distribute a large quantity of methamphetamine. In that month, Calderon repeatedly spoke on the phone and met in the San Mateo area with a prospective buyer to negotiate the sale of 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of methamphetamine. The negotiations settled on a price of $4,700 per kilogram of methamphetamine, for a total price of $70,500 for 15 kilograms. During the negotiations, Calderon guaranteed the quality of the methamphetamine for the buyer and agreed to exchange it for other methamphetamine if the buyer was dissatisfied.
On September 25, 2018, Calderon met with the buyer early in the day and agreed to deliver the methamphetamine to the parking lot of a Menlo Park shopping center. Later in the day, Calderon and two others were arrested near that shopping center. Calderon fled on foot when officers approached but was apprehended. Law enforcement seized 989 grams (more than two pounds) of pure methamphetamine at that arrest scene. During their search of a nearby stash house connected to Calderon, agents recovered an additional 6,492 grams (more than 14 pounds) of pure methamphetamine as well as documents bearing Calderon’s name.
Trial evidence also showed that prior to his arrest on September 25, 2018, Calderon hid methamphetamine inside a red Mustang parked outside the stash house. Law enforcement officers seized that methamphetamine too, which weighed 317 grams (more than two-thirds of a pound).
In a memorandum filed for sentencing, the government pointed out that Calderon exhibited dangerousness during his encounters with police in August and September of 2018. During the August 20th traffic stop by San Jose University police officers, Calderon had a loaded firearm wedged between his driver’s seat and the truck’s center console. During a September 11th traffic stop by law enforcement in San Mateo County, Calderon fled the scene and left behind a privately-made firearm without a serial number, also known as a “ghost gun.” At his September 25th arrest, Calderon again fled on foot. When apprehended, Calderon struggled with the officers, got his hands on an officer’s gun, and pointed the gun at officers before they overcame Calderon and placed him in handcuffs.
In addition to imposing a 198 month prison term, Judge William Alsup sentenced Calderon to five years of supervision following his release from prison. Calderon has been in custody since his September 25, 2018 arrest. His sentence begins immediately.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erin Cornell and Sloan Heffron prosecuted the case with the assistance of Patricia Mahoney, Andy Ding, Hector Lopez, and Madeline Wachs. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by DEA, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, the San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force, and the San Jose State University Police Department.
This investigation and prosecution are part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”), which identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.