Home San Francisco Press Releases 2009 First Defendant in Joint Salinas Valley Law Enforcement Operation Sentenced, Ten Others Convicted

First Defendant in Joint Salinas Valley Law Enforcement Operation Sentenced, Ten Others Convicted

U.S. Attorney’s Office October 27, 2009
  • Northern District of California (415) 436-7200

SAN JOSE, CA—Misael Solorio, who pled guilty on Aug. 3, 2009, to possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Ronald M. Whyte to 10 years incarceration, to be followed by five years of supervised release, United States Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello announced.

“This case is but one example of how federal, state and local law enforcement agencies working together can impact the proliferation of gun violence, gang activity and narcotic trafficking that has been plaguing the Salinas area for too long that the law enforcement agents who attended the recent Gang Violence Summit held in Salinas on September 24, 2009 promised to address,” U.S. Attorney Russoniello said.

In June 2008, a multi-agency undercover investigation targeting suspects who were trafficking in methamphetamine, illegal firearms and stolen vehicles in and around the Salinas, Calif., area was initiated within the Salinas valley. During the course of the investigation, 57 stolen vehicles were recovered with an approximate value of $500,000, and 25 firearms were purchased and four firearms were recovered. In addition, approximately 1,361 grams of crystal methamphetamine was purchased or recovered; approximately 180 grams of heroin was purchased or recovered; and 320 grams of cocaine was recovered. The seized and recovered narcotics have an estimated street value of more than $1.4 million.

Fifty two suspects were arrested on a variety of state and federal violations. To date, 16 of those defendants have been charged federally, arrested, and their indictments unsealed. The federal charges include: felon in possession of a firearm, illegal alien in possession of a firearm, possession of an unregistered firearm, illegal re-entry of a deported alien and illegal possession and distribution of controlled substances. A number of the defendants were also identified as documented gang members and associates.

In addition to the sentencing of Solorio, the following defendants in the case entered guilty pleas yesterday before United States District Judges Ronald M. Whyte and James Ware in San Jose:

Case # CR 09-00457-RMW
Kyra Brubeck – possession with the intent to distribute and distribution of 5 grams or more of actual methamphetamine

Case # CR 09-00455-JW
David Cervantes, Jr. – distribution of 5 grams or more of actual methamphetamine

Case # CR 09-00647-JF
Jaquelina Ramirez – use of a communication facility to facilitate the commission of a drug trafficking crime

Case # CR 09-00458-JW
Frederica Rodrigues – possession with the intent to distribute and distribution of 5 grams or more of actual methamphetamine

Six additional defendants have previously entered guilty pleas as a result of this investigation and are awaiting sentencing:   

Case # CR 09-00421 RMW
Miguel Angel Martinez Uribe – Illegal Alien in Possession of a Firearm and illegal entry into the United States following deportation

Case # CR 09-00491-JW
Felipe Molina – possession with the intent to distribute and distribution of 5 grams or more of actual methamphetamine

Case # CR 09-00420-JW
Alejandro Nicolas Padilla Palomares – Illegal Alien in Possession of a Firearm

Case # CR 09-00647-JF
Luz Zazueta-Lopez – possession with intent to distribute and distribution of 5 grams or more of actual methamphetamine and illegal entry into the United States following deportation

Case # CR 09-00454-JW
 Jose Francisco Ruiz Acosta - distribution of 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine

Case # CR 09-00426-JW
Amy Strader – possession with the intent to distribute and distribution of 5 grams or more of actual methamphetamine

The defendants’ scheduled sentencing dates and maximum sentences are:

Miguel Angel Martinez Uribe – Dec. 7, 2009 – 10 years imprisonment, plus three years supervised release 

Felipe Molina –Nov. 16, 2009 – 40 years imprisonment, plus lifetime supervised release

Alejandro Nicolas Padilla Palomares – Jan. 11, 2010 – 10 years Imprisonment, plus three years supervised release (18 U.S.C. 922(g))

Luz Zazueta-Lopez – Jan. 11, 2010 – 40 years imprisonment, plus lifetime supervised release

Jose Francisco Ruiz Acosta – Jan. 11, 2010 –lifetime imprisonment, plus supervised release for life

Amy Strader – Jan. 11, 2010 – 40 years imprisonment, plus lifetime supervised release 

Kyra Brubeck – Jan. 11, 2010 – 40 years imprisonment, plus lifetime supervised release

David Cervantes, Jr. – Feb. 1, 2010 – 40 years imprisonment, plus lifetime supervised release

Frederica Rodrigues – Feb. 1, 2010 – 40 years imprisonment, plus lifetime supervised release

Jaquelina Ramirez – Feb. 1, 2010 – 4 years imprisonment followed by a period of supervised release

As with Solorio, Acosta faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment; Molina, Strader, Zazueta, Cervantes, Brubeck and Rodrigues face mandatory minimum sentences of five years imprisonment, to be followed by supervised release. The referenced mandatory minimum sentences may also be enhanced based upon a defendant’s prior felony drug conviction(s).

However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Thomas M .O’Connell is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Tracey Andersen.

The case is the result of an 11 month joint effort that included the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the California Highway Patrol, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, the Salinas Police Department, the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement – Santa Cruz County Narcotic Enforcement Team, and prosecutors from the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office in San Jose.

Further Information:

Case # CR 09-00490-RMW

A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Web site at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.

Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.

Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s Web site at www.cand.uscourts.gov.

All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Jack Gillund at (415) 436-6599 or by e-mail at Jack.Gillund@usdoj.gov.

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