5 arrested, drugs seized after investigation into Mexico-based drug smuggling operation targeting Ventura County – CBS Los Angeles
VENTURA (CBSLA) – Five people were arrested and a large cache of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin was seized after a 5-month investigation into drug trafficking in Ventura County.
Gerardo Gonzalez, 29, of Palmdale; Rosario Vega, 49, from Pacoima; Rubi Catalina Sanchez, 38, from Highland; Mauro Romero, 34, of Los Angeles; and Lorenzo Orozco, 35, from Perris were all arrested in the months since the Ventura County Combined Agency team began working with the DEA in February.
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Cases for Gonzalez, Orozco, and Sanchez have been filed with the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, but Vega and Romero face federal charges.
Ventura County Sheriff’s investigators said they learned in February that Raudel Frias, a former Ventura County resident, continued to run a drug smuggling operation in the area even after he fled to Mexico to avoid serving a sentence after a conviction for selling drugs in 2018. There is currently a felony arrest warrant against Frias.
Investigators say they have identified five people working with Frias to deliver narcotics to different towns in Ventura County. One of the larger busts involved Vega, who was arrested on March 25 while delivering 26 pounds of methamphetamine, authorities said. Vega was first identified as part of the trafficking operation when he sold a pound of methamphetamine to VCAT and DEA agents, sheriff officials said.
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Another major bust involved Rubi Catalina Sanchez, who was arrested while delivering 10 pounds of methamphetamine to Thousand Oaks on May 28, according to sheriff officials. Because her minor child was with her at the time, Sanchez also faces a child endangerment charge.
Romero was arrested on June 3 in Camarillo on suspicion of possessing 8 pounds of methamphetamine during an attempted sale to an undercover agent. Romero had previously been identified in another undercover operation selling 2 pounds of methamphetamine to an undercover agent, according to Ventura County Sheriff officials.
After Gonzalez was arrested on March 18 in Arleta and a search warrant was served on his home in Palmdale, one pound of methamphetamine, 1.5 pounds of heroin and 248 grams were seized.
Orozco was arrested on June 18 near his home in Perris for his role in selling two pounds of methamphetamine to an undercover agent in April, sheriff officials said.
Ventura County Sheriff’s investigators continue to work with the DEA and Mexican authorities to locate Frias.