FRESNO – A dozen people were arrested in connection to a meth ring that traces back to a notorious drug cartel in Mexico.
The Madera County Sheriff’s Office announced this week that an operation carried on Nov. 4 resulted in 12 arrests and the seizure of large amounts of meth and cash. Authorities say the meth ring has ties to “La Familia,” a violent drug trafficking organization in Mexico that smuggles methamphetamine into the United States.
Nearly 70 agents carried out the police operation, serving five warrants in Madera County and four warrants in Fresno County. Among those arrested were 36-year-old Ricardo Lopez Diaz and his wife Bernice Lopez Diaz Beltran, 31. The two suspects, who were arrested in their home, are believed to be the head of the local faction of “La Familia.”
Authorities say that the Diaz home, located in a new subdivision in Madera County, served as a supply center to carry out the drug business. Agents found four pounds of meth at the Diaz home, and six more pounds of meth in a storage locker.
Madera County Sheriff John Anderson said that this operation was “a highly organized syndicate believed to be one of the most violent factions, responsible for money laundering, and trafficking mass quantities of methamphetamine.”
Anderson said that the drugs were not made locally.
“This meth is being imported,” he said, and the trail leads down to Mexico.
The amount of meth found during the operation is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, authorities said. Meanwhile, Ricardo and Bernice Diaz were collecting federal and state public assistance, including financial aid and affordable housing help. The couple has four children ranging in ages from 3 to 13 years old. They are now with Child Protective Services.
Eight other suspects who were part of the drug ring were also arrested. They are Maria Silva, Manuel Miranda, Miguel Bertran, Luis Garcia, Antonio Felan, Juan Sandoval, James Hubert, and Teodoro Belmontes. Also arrested during the police operation were two of the drug ring’s customers.
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