Designer Cocaine-Candy Flavored Drug
MAR 10 -- (MODESTO, CA) – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gordon Taylor and United States Attorney McGregor W. Scott, announced the arrest of Gustavo BANUELOS, 47, Eduardo ROSILLO, 27, both of Modesto and Samuel NUNGARAY, 23, of Manteca, and the service of two (2) federal search warrants related to the investigation. As a result of this investigation law enforcement seized approximately 7 pounds regular cocaine, 1 ½ pounds flavored cocaine, over 2 ½ pounds suspected methamphetamine, and 5 weapons. Some of the seized cocaine includes flavors such as strawberry, lemon, coconut and cinnamon. The arrest and search warrants were served without incident. The street value of the cocaine seized in this investigation is estimated to be approximately $272,400.
“Attempting to lure new, younger customers to a dangerous drug by adding candy ‘flavors’ is an unconscionable marketing technique. Cocaine is cocaine and jail time is jail time, no matter how you flavor it,” stated DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gordon Taylor.
This investigation began approximately 10 months ago, when agents received information that Gustavo BANUELOS was distributing large amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine in the Modesto area. That same month, an undercover agent was introduced to BANUELOS at a bar in Modesto for the purpose of purchasing cocaine. During the course of this investigation, agents conducted more than 6 undercover purchases of cocaine, totaling over 4 pounds. Approximately 7 ounces of the purchased cocaine was flavored either with strawberry, lemon, coconut or cinnamon.
According to the affidavit, the undercover agent would contact BANUELOS directly to arrange for the purchase of either regular cocaine and/or flavored cocaine. BANUELOS would then meet with undercover agents at a local bar in Modesto to conduct the transaction. Flavors offered to the undercover varied depending on availability of the product. The price of regular cocaine ranged from approximately $600-$700 per ounce, while the flavored cocaine ranged from $1,100 - $1,400 per ounce. Court documents describe the “strawberry” flavored cocaine as pink in color, the “cinnamon” flavor an off-white/tan color, while the “coconut” flavored cocaine appeared to be a fine white powdery substance with a coconut-like odor.
The investigation culminated on March 6, 2008, when BANUELOS agreed to meet with undercover agents at Vintage Faire Mall on Dale Rd., in Modesto. Law enforcement conducted surveillance of BANUELOS prior to his arrival at the meet location. Agents observed that BANUELOS was being followed in a separate vehicle by an individual subsequently identified as Samuel NUNGARAY. During the meeting BANUELOS delivered approximately 9 ounces lemon cocaine, 5 ½ ounces strawberry cocaine and over 1 ounce coconut cocaine to undercover agents. Law enforcement arrested BANUELOS and NUNGARAY without incident. Agents conducted a search of NUNGARAY’s vehicle subsequent to his arrest and seized approximately 1 ounce cocaine, a digital scale and a loaded .38 caliber semi-automatic pistol in the center console. According to court documents, NUNGARAY was acting as protection for BANUELOS during the drug transaction.
Shortly thereafter agents served federal search warrants at BANUELOS’ residence located at 221 El Vista Avenue, Modesto and at the residence of his suspected source of supply, Eduardo ROSILLO, at 2205 Northridge Drive, Modesto. At BANUELOS’ residence law enforcement seized approximately 1 ounce of flavored cocaine, over 2 ½ pounds of suspected methamphetamine and one illegal sawed-off rifle. From ROSILLO’s residence law enforcement seized over 4 pounds cocaine from the kitchen, approximately 7 ½ ounces cocaine from a candy bowl on the kitchen counter and 2 ounces cocaine throughout the residence. Additionally, agents seized 3 guns to include a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, a .357 caliber revolver and a .32 caliber handgun. ROSILLO was arrested at that time without incident.
BANUELOS is charged with distributing at least 500 grams of cocaine in violation of Title 21, United States Code (USC), Section 841(a)(1). ROSILLO and NUNGARAY are both charged with conspiracy in violation of Title 21 USC Section 846 and with possession with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of cocaine, in violation of Title 21 USC Section 841(a)(1). These charges are punishable by 5 to 40 years imprisonment, a $2,000,000 fine, and at least 4 years of supervised release. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
This investigation was conducted by the following agencies: DEA Sacramento Task Force, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Sacramento, with assistance from Sacramento HIDTA, CALMET Sacramento, Modesto HIDTA, Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office and Vallejo Police Department.
ROSILLO and NUNAGRAY had their initial appearance in Sacramento Federal Court on Friday, March 7, 2008, while BANUELOS is scheduled for his initial appearance on Monday, March 10, 2008. A complaint contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, ROSILLO, NUNAGRAY and BANUELOS must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.