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Major Mexican drug ring suspects in court
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A major Mexican drug trafficking ring that touched Manteca, Stockton and Sacramento had 90 pounds of methamphetamines and more than 30 kilograms of cocaine along with $1.1 million in cash seized by federal agents earlier this month will face arraignment on Monday in U.S. Federal Court in Sacramento.

German Gonzalez Velazquez, 41, of Manteca was one of those arrested Feb. 11 when armed U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents and the San Joaquin County Metropolitan Drug Task Force served a search warrant on his home in the 1600 block of Nu Shake Way, south of Lathrop Road and east of Airport Way in the Chadwick Square area.

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced Friday that following a lengthy investigation, Alejandro Fletes-Lopez, 28, of Acampo and 12 others were indicted on Thursday on charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, and the use of phones to facilitate the distribution of methamphetamine.

According to court documents, Fletes-Lopez is alleged to have imported methamphetamine from Mexico and distributed it through a network of couriers to numerous states including California, Oregon, Iowa, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, and Minnesota.

Conviction in the drug trafficking charges could send the defendants to a maximum sentence of life in prison, a $4 million fine each, and a five-year-to-life term of supervised release for each count.

The maximum sentence for the use of phones for drug trafficking is four years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a three year term of supervised release.

The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of applicable statutory sentencing factors and the federal sentencing guidelines which take into account a number of variables, according to a release by the U.S. attorney in the case.

The case is the product of an extensive investigation by the DEA; the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department; the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HIS); the San Joaquin County Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force; the Elk Grove Police Department; the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department, the Stockton Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Galt Police Department, and the state highway patrols of California, Nevada, Minnesota, Kansas, Massachusetts and Iowa.  Assistant United States Attorneys Michael M. Beckwith and Paul Hemesath are prosecuting the case.