Twenty-three people, including five San Diego County residents, have been indicted in connection with a major cocaine trafficking operation that stretched from Cabo San Lucas and Hawaii to Montana and Seattle, federal authorities said Thursday.
Of those named in the 132-count indictment, 13 were arrested Thursday after a nearly two-year investigation by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.
Among those arrested was the alleged head of the cocaine ring, Thomas Joseph Hurley, 37, of Rancho Santa Fe, who federal officials said supervised a distribution network that moved "multikilogram" quantities of the drug.
Variety of Charges
He was arrested on suspicion of operating a criminal enterprise, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and unlawful use of communication facilities. Hurley moved to San Diego from Santa Cruz in June, 1987.
FBI agent Ronald G. Orrantia said authorities used what they described as a "a cooperating witness" to buy a kilogram of cocaine for $23,500 from Hurley and an accomplice in June, 1987.
Assistant U. S. Atty. Joan Weber said Hurley's "No. 2 man" was Robert Powell Goodrich, 38, of Loma Portal, who was arrested along with Hurley in San Diego.
Other members of the alleged cocaine conspiracy were arrested Thursday in Santa Cruz, South Lake Tahoe, San Jose, San Francisco and Long Beach. They are:
Thomas Bradford Ellison, 40, of Rancho Sante Fe; James William Duey, 38, of Fallbrook; Michael John Hurst, 40, of Santa Cruz; Tamara Lynn Davis, 25, of Sacramento; Patrick Alan Martin, 35, of South Lake Tahoe; David Alan Lindsay, 34, of Sacramento; Gregory Mark Halteman, 36, of Los Gatos; Michael Miroyan, 36, believed to be from Hawaii; Ronald Duane Calonica, 38, of Santa Barbara; Eileen Elizabeth Sorensen, 38 of Long Beach, and Hurley's wife, Jennifer Jane Hurley, 30, of Rancho Sante Fe.
Other arrests are pending, officials said, adding that the investigation is continuing.
Orrantia said the indictments stemmed in part from conversations about cocaine trafficking overheard by federal agents using court-authorized wiretaps. Most of the conversations among members of the conspiracy occurred between June, 1987, and August, 1988.
The indictments were actually handed down Dec. 7, but were kept sealed until Thursday.
Authorities have also begun to seize assets the ring allegedly used, including two BMWs, two Porsches, a Mercedes-Benz, several rifles and shotguns, and 25 acres of undeveloped land worth $500,000 near Lawrence Welk Resort Village in North San Diego County. More seizures are expected as the investigation continues.
Seized during the investigation were 5 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of about $500,000, which was stashed at a Del Mar real estate company where Goodrich worked, authorities said.
"The kilos aren't the significant aspect of it," Orrantia said. "It's the interceptions on the wire, the forfeitures and seizures . . . they all send a sign" to other drug traffickers.
Weber agreed: "The thing I think that makes it big is the scope of it. (Hurley's) organization distributed up and down the coast," she said.
The task force that conducted the investigation is made up of members of the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the U. S. Customs Service.