Home Sacramento Press Releases 2013 Three Methamphetamine Indictments from Fresno, Kern, and Merced Counties

Three Methamphetamine Indictments from Fresno, Kern, and Merced Counties

U.S. Attorney’s Office February 07, 2013
  • Eastern District of California (916) 554-2700

FRESNO, CA—A federal grand jury in Fresno returned three indictments today charging seven individuals with methamphetamine trafficking offenses, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug; both its production and its use can be deadly.

The charges in the indictments are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Fresno County

Stephen Dennis Buck, 47, of Cathedral City (Riverside County) was arrested in Fresno, on January 23, 2013, in possession of crystal methamphetamine. According to court documents, Buck was negotiating with a confidential informant in Washington to sell eight pounds of methamphetamine for $70,000. They agreed to meet in Fresno to complete the transaction. Shortly after arriving in Fresno, Buck was taken into custody and the methamphetamine was seized along with a large amount of U.S. currency. He has been detained as a flight risk, and he is scheduled for arraignment and plea on the indictment on February 8, 2013, in federal court in Fresno.

This case is the product of a joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration in Seattle, Washington and in Fresno and the Fresno Methamphetamine Task Force, a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Initiative (HIDTA). Assistant United States Attorney Laurel J. Montoya is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Buck faces a sentence of 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Kern County

Dimas Mazon, 27; Ulisses Lopez, 23; and Erik Lopez, 20, all of Bakersfield, are charged in a three-count indictment with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and distributing methamphetamine between August 28 and October 23, 2012. The third count charges Erik Lopez with possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute on January 25, 2013.

This case is the product of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bakersfield Police Department, and the Kern County Sherriff’s Department. Assistant United States Attorney Kevin Rooney is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison. The third count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Merced County

Jacob Belford, 29, originally from Reno, Nevada; James Brooks, 26, originally from Lufkin, Texas; and Sophia Kiiti, 26, of Reno, Nevada, were charged in a five-count indictment with conspiring to smuggle methamphetamine into the Federal Penitentiary in Atwater, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to the indictment, Belford and Brooks are inmates and conspired with Kiiti to have methamphetamine mailed to Belford and Brooks and another inmate at the Atwater Penitentiary. Kiiti concealed the methamphetamine under a label on a piece of correspondence sent to the prison.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Prisons. Assistant United States Attorneys Yasin Mohammad and Kevin Rooney are prosecuting the case.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

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