Ranchera music singer Jose Mendez Pineda pleaded not guilty in Santa Ana federal court Tuesday to charges he distributed cocaine and methamphetamines across the country.
Federal authorities said they seized 20 pounds of methamphetamines, some cocaine and an AK-47 assault rifle when they searched Pineda's Santa Ana residence Sept. 23.
Pineda and three people suspected of participating in the alleged drug trafficking operation were arrested. They were identified as Efrain Salmeron Eriza, 38, Maria Agustina Gambino, 41, and Sandra Chavez Noriega, 32, all of Santa Ana. They also pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of possessing narcotics with the intent to distribute.
Two Anaheim residents, Natividad Camacho, 45, and Lorena Valdez, 25, were indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with the case but are fugitives.
Trial for the four defendants is Dec. 2.