A task force known as Inland Crackdown Allied with the state Attorney General’s Office conducted the operation Tuesday night that netted the arrests, drugs and more than $27,000 in cash, authorities said.
Suspected cartel members Jesus Armando Cardena-Selem, 25, Fontana; Ramiro Gill, 40, Fontana; Sergio Mercado-Vasquez, 32, Fontana; and Juan Gabriel Angulo-Cabrera, 37, Fontana were booked into the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine for sale and transportation of a controlled substance for sale.
Special agents assigned to an organized crime task force in the Inland Empire arrested four suspected members of the “La Familia Michoacana” Mexican cartel and seized 107 pounds of methamphetamine, five kilos of cocaine and one-half pound of heroin. The drugs have a total street value of $5,916,800, according to authorities
The undercover investigation that began in September identified the four men as suspected members of the drug trafficking organization operating in Southern California, authorities said.
Authorities say the four suspects in a Dodge Caravan and Honda Pilot arrived at a predetermined meeting place at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday in Bloomington where undercover agents conducted a “buy bust” sting, purchasing 10 pounds of “meth” and then arresting the suspects.
“A search warrant was served at a Fontana residence where agents discovered the rest of the drugs seized,” special agent Steve Utter said at a news conference in Riverside on Wednesday. “The total street value of the narcotics seized is over $5,916,800.00.”
Federal authorities are reviewing the case to determine whether federal prosecution is possible too, Utter added.
In August, federal and local law enforcements agents arrested eight people as part of a three-year investigation into the Mexican Mafia, La Familia drug cartel and the notorious street gang, Florencia 13.
U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, Andre Birotte, said the August arrest was the single largest crackdown since the 1990s.
Authorities vowed to continue cracking down on the cartels to try and stop the drugs from being made and circulated in the United States.
“These drugs are poison,” said one undercover agent following the Wednesday’s news conference. “We’re the poison control, and we aim to stop this disease before it gets any worse.”