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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Seizure of 18 Pounds of Methamphetamine and Assault Rifles from Suspected Cartel Associates

Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Contact: (415) 703-5837

MORENO VALLEY -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arraignment of two men who were arrested in possession of 18 pounds of methamphetamine, as well as four handguns, three assault rifles and a .50 caliber sniper rifle. The individuals are believed to be associates of the La Familia cartel in Michoacan, Mexico.

“The fight against transnational gangs continues to be a priority for the California Department of Justice,” said Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. “These arrests are another example of the hard work and dedication of our agents in the continued effort to stop the trafficking of guns, drugs and human beings throughout our state.”

Jesus Espinoza, 25, of San Diego and Jose Manuel Guizar-Gaytan, 25, of Mexico, were arraigned today in Riverside County Superior Court on two felony counts each of possession of methamphetamine for sale and possession of methamphetamine with a loaded firearm and three felony counts each of possession of an assault weapon, possession of an assault rifle and possession of any .50 BMG (sniper) rifle. Both defendants pled not guilty, and bail was set at $500,000 for each.

The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute the case because the defendants were arrested in the City of Moreno Valley. The investigation was conducted by the Attorney General’s Inland Crackdown Allied Task Force (INCA).

On September 14, INCA agents received information about a home in Moreno Valley that contained methamphetamine and weapons. INCA agents, along with deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, contacted Espinoza and Guizar-Gaytan at the residence. INCA agents obtained a search warrant for the residence, two vehicles and a public storage locker associated with the location. As a result of the search warrant, agents seized approximately 18 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of more than  $832,000, four handguns, three assault rifles and a .50 caliber sniper rifle. Both men were arrested without incident and booked into the Riverside County Jail.

These arrests are the latest in a series of successful DOJ-led investigations targeting transnational gang crime across California. Earlier this month DOJ agents seized $1.1 million worth of methamphetamine from the Sinaloa Cartel (http://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-kamala-d-harris-announces-seizure-11-million-worth).

The California Department of Justice provides a wide range of investigative skills and forensic resources. INCA is one of 28 state Department of Justice-led task forces that work with local enforcement partners to respond to our state’s growing gang and drug trafficking problems.

The Attorney General’s INCA Task Force is comprised of: the Beaumont Police Department, the California Department of Justice, the Calexico Police Department, the California Alcoholic Beverage Control, the California Highway Patrol, the Corona Police Department, the San Bernardino Police Department, the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, the Riverside Police Department, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and the Murrieta Police Department.

Photos of the guns and methamphetamine seized are attached to the electronic version of this press release at http://oag.ca.gov/news.

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