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Feds indict 30 in Mexico-US drug trafficking scheme

August 21, 2013|By Richard Winton

Months of eavesdropping on two drug trafficking organizations that smuggled methamphetamine and cocaine across the border from Mexico culminated in the federal indictment of 30 suspects in a drug trafficking conspiracy.

During early mornings raids Wednesday, seven of the named defendants were arrested at homes across Southern California as part of the 12-count indictment involving the transportation, distribution and delivery of drugs throughout Los Angeles and surrounding counties.

The other defendants targeted by “Operation Mountain Top" remain fugitives, prosecutors said. Raul Cervera and Nicolas Santana Zuniga, both Mexicans who led the operations south of the border, are among those still at large. 

The indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury on Aug. 8 and unsealed Wednesday, is the conclusion of a 20-month investigation involving federal wiretaps and conducted under the auspices of the Southern California Drug Task Force/High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force.

It is the third large-scale operation to result in indictments against key drug dealers connected to narcotics enterprises in Mexico

In this case, the suspects are accused of smuggling narcotics over the border using small concealed compartments in dozens of vehicles during the last two years. The drugs would be brought over the border and then taken to a home in Mira Loma where they would redistributed to other locations.

The FBI, DEA and Torrance police seized approximately 92 pounds of methamphetamine and 50 kilograms of cocaine. Investigators observed the suspects making drug exchanges at several locations, including behind an Autozone in Mira Loma.

The seven people arrested Wednesday are: Karine Elizabeth Barajas, 35, of Loma Linda; Luis Mendiaz Deniz, 57, of Mira Loma; Ladis Anthony Martinez, 25, of San Bernardino; Mayra Alejandra Sandoval, 23, of Long Beach; Victor Manuel Munoz, 30, of Hawaiian Gardens; David Lopez Hernandez, 28, of Loma Linda; and Carlos Alfonso Marroquin-Flores, 35, of Mexico.


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