Attorney general: drug ring has Riverside County connection

RIVERSIDE – Three of 11 people busted in a state and federal investigation into a nationwide drug smuggling operation are from Riverside County, the California Attorney General’s Office announced today.

Erwin Alva, Rosemary Alvarez and Ernesto Carrillo are accused conspirators in a trafficking operation targeted by the Department of Justice’s Central Valley Marijuana Investigation Team.

A sting initiated by the task force last summer and continuing through March resulted in the seizure of 942 marijuana plants, 56 pounds of methamphetamine and $269,000 cash.

”Transnational drug traffickers aren’t troubled by the details of law enforcement jurisdictions or government borders, and neither should our enforcement efforts,” Attorney General Kamala Harris said. ”Our success shows the pressing need for more collaboration and funding to fight transnational drug trafficking in California.”

Alva, Alvarez and Carrrillo were arrested in Riverside County in March and charged with 13 felony counts, including possession, transportation and sales of controlled substances, possession of restricted ammunition and conspiracy, according to the Department of Justice.

All three are being held in lieu of $500,000 bail in the Tulare County jail.

Their co-defendants are: Angel Pedraza Cervantes, Gerardo Campos Cuin, John DeWayne, Jose Magana, Manuel Munoz, Juan Parra, Christopher Pellegrin and Ana Valero.

Cervantes and Cuin were arrested in Jonesboro, Ark., in February. They’re charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arkansas.

The other defendants were arrested in Central California.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, Magana was the alleged ring leader, operating a drug trafficking network with connections in Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania. Some of the ring’s clients included Chicano prison gangs based in Northern California.

The Central Valley Marijuana Investigation Team consists of sheriff’s personnel from Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties, agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Forest Service.

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