Brown Announces Heroin Trafficking Ring Shut Down

Friday, March 5, 2010
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

Yuba County, Calif.–Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced that agents from the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement Task Force, Yuba-Sutter Narcotic Enforcement Team (NET-5) arrested three men for heroin trafficking in the Yuba-Sutter area and seized 3.5 pounds of heroin, $32,887 in cash and six weapons.

Agents also arrested three other people who were sub-dealers or otherwise involved in the area’s heroin trade. All six suspects are Mexican nationals and have been placed on immigration hold.

"This is the largest heroin seizure ever made in this community,' Attorney General Brown said. 'Yesterday’s arrests will significantly impact the availability of hard drugs in the Yuba-Sutter area.'

Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement Task Force agents began the investigation in January 2010 and served three separate search warrants over a three-month period. The warrants were served in the 600 block of North Township Road, Yuba City and the 600 block of King Avenue, Yuba City.

The investigation revealed that Juan Carlos Lopez, Joseph Valdez and Hugo Roberto Rios Martinez were “full time” heroin dealers. Seven days a week from morning to night, the three traffickers sold the heroin, which was produced in either Mexico or South America and delivered to the area through Stockton.

From Lopez’s residence, agents seized 6.64 grams of heroin, 1.5 grams of cocaine, adulterant, packaging material, scales, a .38-caliber handgun, a 12-gauge shotgun, a rifle, and $6,199.00 in drug proceeds. From the Valdez residence, agents seized 34.27 grams of heroin, packaging material, 35 Hydrocodone pills, and $1,311.00 in drug proceeds. From the Martinez residence, agents seized 1,554.55 grams of heroin, adulterant, packaging material, scales, 2 handguns, a rifle, and $24,377 in drug proceeds.

The Valdez’s 16 year-old daughter, who was at school during the service of the search warrant, was taken into protective custody by Sutter County Child Protective Services. A 10 year-old child was removed from the Martinez home and taken into protective custody.

The Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement Task Force determined the street value of the heroin to be $250,000.

All individuals were booked into the Sutter County Jail for possession for sale of heroin. Martinez and the Valdezes were also charged with child endangerment. None of the six suspects have any known prior criminal record in California.

Located in the Attorney General's office, the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement is the oldest narcotic enforcement bureau in the United States.

Questions regarding this investigation can be directed to Special Agent Supervisor Mike Hudson at (530) 674-2725. Photographs of the seizure and four individuals arrested are attached.

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