A federal jury returned a verdict on Thursday finding Jose Roberto Arreola-Serrato, 31, of Tulare, guilty of a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents and evidence produced at trial, Arreola-Serrato worked with other members of a Tulare County-based conspiracy to supply methamphetamine for a large-scale drug trafficking organization, which was responsible for distributing methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin in California and Washington.
As the result of investigation, law enforcement seized a large amount of controlled substances, including 14 kilograms of methamphetamine, 2 kilograms of cocaine, and 1 kilogram of heroin.
Ten co-defendants charged in October 2015 pleaded guilty to various drug charges and have been sentenced to the following prison terms: Olegario Trujillo, 33, of Fresno, 20 years; Edgar Valencia-Farias, of Tulare, four years; Gladys Ramos, 34, of Woodlake, four years; Carlos Tafoya-Ramos, 22, of Woodlake, six years; Marcos Diaz, 23, of Madera, 11 years; Ramiro Salas Munoz, 37, of Lindsay, time served (10 months); Arthur Allen Walker, 32, of Poplar, three years reduced to time served; Francisca Torres-Guisar, 51, of Visalia, three years; Gary Passmore, 65, of Washington state, three years and nine months in prison, and Jorge Martinez Jr., 23, of Tulare, four years.
Arrest warrants remain outstanding for Arnold Martinez Valencia, 39, of Woodlake, and Pedro Delgado-Montenegro, 36, of Porterville. The charges against them are only allegations, and they're presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is the product of a Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) investigation conducted by the Central Valley Marijuana Investigation Team (CVMIT). CVMIT was composed of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), California Department of Justice-Bureau of Investigation, California Fish and Wildlife, Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, Kings County Sheriff’s Office, and Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kathleen Servatius and Mira Chernick are prosecuting the case.
Arreola-Serrato will appear in district court for sentencing on April 10. Arreola-Serrato faces a mandatory minimum statutory penalty of 10 years and up to life in prison. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.