Federal grand juries have issued nine indictments that charge a total of 13 defendants with firearms and narcotics violations, authorities announced Wednesday.
Law enforcement arrested 10 defendants, two are fugitives and one is in prison, according to officials.
“There is no doubt that removing guns from our streets and arresting criminals who use and carry guns prevents senseless violence in our communities,” said Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck. “Removing even one gun from the streets means one less Angeleno robbed, shot, or murdered. Removing illegal guns is one of the LAPD’s highest priorities and working with our federal partners will help make our communities safer.”
During an early morning operation today, authorities arrested ten of the federal defendants. Two of the defendants under indictment are currently fugitives and one defendant is already in state custody.
Law enforcement seized 13 additional firearms, about two and one-half pounds of methamphetamine, about a quarter pound of crack cocaine, and about a quarter pound of heroin.
In addition to the 13 federal defendants, authorities have arrested eight other defendants who are expected to be prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
From February through July, the joint ATF-LAPD operation called Crime Area Gun Enforcement or CAGE targeted violent offenders, gang members and previously convicted felons and their associates who were suspected of being involved in illegal firearm possession and sales, as well as narcotics distribution, in the San Fernando Valley, officials said.
Investigators used confidential informants as part of an undercover operation in which ATF agents purchased contraband. As a result of the CAGE operation, authorities have seized approximately 20 pounds of methamphetamine and 40 weapons, including restricted firearms such as short-barrel rifles and silencers, according to authorities.
The investigation also uncovered two locations where AR-15- and AK-47-type rifles were being clandestinely manufactured or illegally sold.
“This operation has removed dangerous drugs from the black market and has shut off a source of illegal firearms that can cause so much violence and damage in our neighborhoods,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Criminals who engage in the illegal trafficking of drugs and guns can and should expect to be prosecuted, especially when they have previously been convicted of similar crimes.”
Over the past several weeks, federal grand juries returned nine indictments that charge 13 defendants.
Those defendants facing federal charges are:
- Fidel Moreno-Dominguez, 47, of Palmdale, and Walter Wilfredo Lagos, 34, of Palmdale, who are charged with conspiracy to distribute one pound of methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine. Moreno-Dominguez is additionally charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm after being convicted of selling narcotics. Lagos is currently a fugitive.
- Robert Steven Carrillo, 31, of Redlands, and Alexander Ramirez Manzo (also known as “Dozer”), 34, of Pacoima, who are charged with conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, and possession of unregistered firearms. Manzo additionally is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm after being convicted of burglary and sale of a controlled substance.
- Brandon C. Torres, 30, of Van Nuys, who is charged with engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition after being convicted of possession of a controlled substance, and distribution of approximately one-quarter pound of methamphetamine.
- Antonio Cisneros, also known as “Trippy,” 31 of North Hollywood, and Gino Cesar Dresda, 24, of Panorama City, who are charged with distribution of approximately one-quarter pound of methamphetamine. Additionally, Cisneros is charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, distribution of a second quarter-pound of methamphetamine, and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition after being convicted of possessing a controlled substance and firearms offenses. Cisneros is currently a fugitive.
- Anival Alvarez, 41, of San Fernando, and Maribel Lopez-Reyes, 30, also of San Fernando, who are charged with for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and two counts of distributing approximately one-quarter pound of methamphetamine.
- Luis Angel Torres, 28, of Palmdale, who is charged with engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, and two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition after being convicted of possession for sale of a controlled substance.
- Rudy Salazar, 36, of Mission Hills, who is charged with distribution of approximately one-quarter pound of methamphetamine. Albert Benjamin Perez, also known as “Dragon,” 57, of Granada Hills, who is charged with distribution of methamphetamine.
- Steven Clyde Neaville, 53, of Van Nuys, who is charged with distribution of approximately one-quarter pound of methamphetamine
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