Thirteen Members of Drug Trafficking Organization Charged in Federal Grand Jury Indictment, Task Force Serves Multiple Warrants on Central Coast of California
A federal criminal indictment unsealed this morning charges a dozen defendants for their roles in a Central Coast narcotics trafficking organization whose members conspired to distribute high purity methamphetamine and other narcotics, among other charges, announced Acting United States Attorney Stephanie Yonekura and David L. Bowdich, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
Agents with the FBI, officers with the California Highway Patrol, and deputies with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department conducted a pre-dawn operation that led to the arrest of 12 defendants charged in the indictment and a separate criminal complaint.
The 13 defendants facing federal criminal charges are listed below. All were taken into custody without incident this morning, unless noted.
- Jose Alfredo Rocha, Sr., 52, of Nipomo, California
- Irene Rocha, 49, or Nipomo, California
- Jose Alfredo Rocha, Jr., 24, of Nipomo, California
- Tony Perfecto Rocha, 23, of Nipomo, California
- Anna Rosa Rocha, 28, of Nipomo, California
- Maria Ynez Flores, 19, of Nipomo, California
- Jim Elkins, 59, of Grover Beach, California
- Emil Brieg IV, 19, of Oceano, California
- Kyle Joseph Edelen, 31, of Nipomo, California
- Victor Speedy Gonzales, 36, of Nipomo, California (being sought by task force)
- Frank Eugene Martinez, 26, Nipomo, California
- Peter Bernard Salinas, 55, of Oceano, California
- Chase Ross Twomey, 26, of Nipomo, California
The indictment targets the alleged drug trafficking activities of the Rocha family, which operated in and around Santa Maria. Eleven of the defendants named in the indictment are charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, namely high-purity methamphetamine; cocaine; and heroin. The conspiracy count in the indictment details 74 “overt acts” that began in the winter of 2013 and continued into 2014. The overt acts describe numerous narcotics transactions; drug negotiations using coded language and “controlled buys” between the defendants and two confidential informants. As alleged in the indictment, Jose Alfredo Rocha; his wife, Irene; and their sons, Tony Perfecto Rocha and Jose Alfredo Rocha Jr., allegedly acquired and stored drugs for sale and distribution to area drug dealers, who would then sell narcotics to street-level customers.
Six of the defendants are additionally charged with distribution or possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and heroin.
Defendants Jose Alfredo Rocha and Tony Perfecto Rocha are also charged with distribution of methamphetamine near a school, and defendant Maria Ynez Flores is charged with the use of a telephone to facilitate drug trafficking.
In addition to the sale of controlled substances, the indictment alleges that Anna Rosa Rocha, a member of the Rocha Family, provided false statements on loan applications for vehicles, one of which is alleged in the indictment to have been used in the family’s drug trafficking operation.
The 12 defendants taken into custody today are expected to make their initial appearances in United States District Court in Los Angeles on Wednesday, April 8.
The conspiracy count in the indictment carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a statutory maximum penalty of life in federal prison. The distribution charges carry a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a fine of $1 million. For the methamphetamine distribution charges that involve more than five grams, the mandatory minimum penalty is five years with a statutory maximum of 40 years and a $5 million fine. For the methamphetamine distribution charges that involve more than 50 grams, the mandatory minimum is 10 years in prison with a statutory maximum of life and a $10 million fine. The use of a telephone to facilitate drug trafficking charge carries a statutory maximum of four years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The false statements charges each carry a statutory maximum of 30 years and a $1 million fine.
This case is the product of an investigation by the FBI, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department, and the California Highway Patrol, all partners on the Central Coast Safe Streets Task Force.
Personnel from a number of law enforcement agencies assisted during today’s operation, including the following:
- Pismo Beach Police Department
- Guadalupe Police Department
- Santa Maria Police Department
- Grover Beach Police Department
- DHS HSI (Homeland Security Investigations)
- San Luis Obispo Probation
- San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s Investigators
- San Luis Obispo Police Department
An indictment or criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.
- FBI: Laura Eimiller at 310 420-6441 (cell) or Lourdes Arocho (Spanish Speaker) 310 628-2023 (cell)
- United States Attorney’s Office: Spokesman Thom Mrozek at 213 894-6947