DEA arrests three Grass Valley residents on meth sales charges
DEA agents, with the assistance of Grass Valley police officers, served warrants at two separate locations in Grass Valley Thursday morning, taking one person into custody.
The warrant searches came on the heels of the Wednesday arrests of two other Grass Valley residents on federal charges of possession of methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, said DEA Special Agent Casey Rettig.
The arrests were the result of an investigation launched earlier this year by the DEA, FBI and the Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Program, Rettig said.
Patricia Guizar, 34, and Jorge Antonio Sandoval Ramirez, 31, were arrested around noon Wednesday after the California Highway Patrol, at the request of the DEA, made a traffic stop on Interstate 5 near Patterson, Rettig said. During a search of their vehicle the CHP officers found 20 pounds of suspected meth.
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Guizar and Ramirez made an initial appearance Thursday in U.S. District Court in Sacramento. A detention hearing was set for today and a preliminary hearing into the evidence was scheduled for Nov. 21. The two remained in custody Thursday in the Sacramento County Jail without bail.
Officers on Thursday served two search warrants: one at a residence in the 500 block of Douglas Avenue, off Ridge and Slate Creek roads; and the other at an apartment in the 300 block of Mill Street. Authorities arrested one person, Rettig said.
Rettig would not name the person arrested Thursday, pending a court appearance today. But a criminal complaint filed Thursday by DEA Special Agent Miguel Zavala named Guizar, Ramirez and Ian Franco Molina Campos.
According to the complaint, the trio came to the attention of law enforcement during an investigation into a drug trafficking organization involving a meth and heroin supplier for the greater Sacramento area. The supplier, a man believed to live in Mexico, sent Guizar to meet with a confidential informant to sell 4 ounces of heroin in Grass Valley. The informant has been working with law enforcement since 2015 in order to obtain legal status in the U.S. On July 25, Guizar met with the informant at the Auburn Target and sold the heroin for $3,200, Zavala wrote.
Zavala states that on Aug. 8 Guizar and Ramirez met with a man identified as Campos outside an apartment on Mill Street, and Campos handed Ramirez a silver-colored box. The two suspects then met with the informant and sold the informant nearly 2 pounds of meth for $4,400. According to the complaint, Guizar had retrieved the package from a silver-colored box that appeared to be the same one given to Ramirez by Campos.
After Guizar was found to have driven from Grass Valley to Southern California on Wednesday and then was making a return trip the same day, the CHP was asked to make a traffic stop on her vehicle, the complaint states. Guizar gave consent to search the vehicle, Zavala states.
Typically, the meth being interdicted is coming from Mexico and being transported over the border in vehicles, Rettig said.
“More often than not it’s already converted to ice form,” she said.
According to Rettig, incredibly pure methamphetamine has been flooding the U.S. market.
“We’re seeing so much of it,” she said. “It’s so pure, so cheap and so addictive.”
Rettig said the wholesale price for meth right now is “very cheap” — about $2,000 a pound.
“The cartels in Mexico have created a very pure, powerful product in mass quantity, and the market got flooded, which has caused the price to drop,” she said.
A user will use far less, maybe a tenth of a gram, Rettig noted, adding that resellers could potentially add adulterants to increase their profit.
According to Nevada County Sheriff’s Sgt. John Dzioba, the street value for 20 pounds of meth, if sold by the ounce, would be about $112,000 — or even double that if broken up into small-use quantities.
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4236.
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