Feds Bust 2 Alleged Drug Trafficking Rings
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Seven people have been arrested for their part in two alleged drug trafficking rings operating from Mexico to the Southland, according a a federal probe dubbed Operation Mountain Top.
Nearly 30 people in all are reportedly facing federal narcotics charges following a probe involving the importation of cocaine and methamphetamine, according to court papers unsealed Wednesday.
The charges were unsealed after authorities arrested seven defendants named in the indictment, the result of a 20-month investigation involving federal wiretaps, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation, prosecutors said.
The smuggling rings were allegedly run by Nicolas Santana Zuniga and Raul Cervera, both of Mexico.
During the probe, authorities reportedly seized about 92 pounds of meth and 50 kilograms of cocaine.
Those arrested Wednesday were:
— Karine Elizabeth Barajas, 35, of Loma Linda, who allegedly smuggled narcotics into the United States for Zuniga;
— Luis Mendiaz Deniz, 57, of Mira Loma, who allegedly assisted Zuniga in receiving and delivering narcotics smuggled from Mexico;
— David Lopez Hernandez, 28, of Loma Linda, who allegedly transported smuggled narcotics for Zuniga;
— Ladis Anthony Martinez, 25, of San Bernardino, who allegedly transported smuggled drugs for Zuniga;
— Carlos Alfonso Marroquin-Flores, 35, of Mexico, who allegedly transported smuggled drugs for Cervera’s ring and was arrested as he crossed the border into the United States;
— Mayra Alejandra Sandoval, 23, of Long Beach, who allegedly assisted a drug transporter working for Zuniga; and
— Victor Manuel Munoz, 30, of Hawaiian Gardens, who allegedly assisted Hernandez by storing smuggled drugs in his home.
If convicted of all charges, each defendant faces life in federal prison.