LOS ANGELES >> Two Santa Fe Springs men arrested in a jailed in a 672-pound cocaine bust linked to the Sinaloa drug cartel received prison sentences of more than two decades each last week, authorities said.
Eddie Perez, 43, and Jose Garcia Samano, 41, have been behind bars since June 2, 2015, when a Los Angeles County sheriff’s task force carried out a raid at a home in the 11400 block of Charleseworth Road in Santa Fe Springs, where deputies seized 562 pounds of cocaine.
The bust took place a day after deputies arrested two other men linked to the drug ring after pulling over their car in their hometown of Victorville and discovering 110 pounds of the drug in the trunk of their vehicle, according to officials from sheriff’s Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force, or L.A. IMPACT. The large-scale drug-dealing operation was believed to be linked to the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico. Investigators valued the seized cocaine at $35 million.
•Photos: Santa Fe Springs/Victorville cocaine bust
At their sentencing hearing on March 9, Perez received a prison term of 23 years, while Samano was sentenced to 27 years in state prison, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Greg Risling said.
Perez had pleaded guilty to selling a controlled substance, conspiracy to commit a crime and two counts of possession of a controlled substance, Risling said. Samano pleaded guilty to selling a controlled substance and conspiracy.
The two other defendants in the case, who were arrested during the traffic stop in Victorville, are already serving time for their roles in the cocaine ring.
Eligio Alvarez Manriquez, 27, received a sentence of 22 years in state prison in February after pleading “no contest” to selling a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy, according to Risling. Jose Manuel Lopez, 25, was sentenced to three years, to be served in county jail, in November after pleading guilty to a single charge of conspiracy.
A woman who was initially arrested along with Manriquez and Lopez was ultimately released without charges due to a lack of evidence of her involvement, officials said.
FILE PHOTOS by Melissa Masatani
SAN GABRIEL >> Two brothers from Long Beach were behind bars Friday after San Gabriel police found them driving through town with a kilogram of cocaine stowed in a shoe box, officials said.
Manuel Eugenio Salazar, 23, and brother Jorge Eugenio Salazar, 22, were both booked on suspicion of transportation of narcotics following their arrests shortly before noon Thursday, according to San Gabriel police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The bust stemmed from a “routine traffic stop” about 10:25 a.m. in the 1300 block of South San Gabriel Boulevard, Lt. Riki Nakamura said.
An officers topped a Nissan being driven by Manuel Salazar, with his brother riding as a passenger, for having no license plates, the lieutenant said. It was also soon determined that the driver had no license.
Police prepared to tow the car, Nakamura said. While conducting an “inventory search,” police found a 2.2-pound brick of cocaine stashed inside a shoebox within the car.
A drug-sniffing dog examined the car but found no additional drugs, he said.
Manuel and Jorge Salazar were being held in lieu of $30,000 bail each at the Alhambra Police Department’s jail pending their initial court appearances, scheduled Tuesday in Alhambra Superior Court, records show.
A model who was found dead inside her Monrovia apartment in September died of asphyxiation, the Coroner’s department said on Tuesday.
The woman’s cause of death was determined on Friday after toxicology reports were completed, Los Angeles County Coroner Assistant Chief Ed Winter said.
Tests found traces of cocaine and GHB in Lee’s body.
Lee’s boyfriend, Brain Randone, has been charged with torturing and killing Lee inside the couple’s Monrovia apartment on Sept. 11.
The 31-year-old Lee starred in adult movies and modeled under the name Felicia Tang.
Randone, 45, holds a bachelor’s degree from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and appeared on the 2000 Fox reality show “The Sexiest Bachelor in America.
WHittier PD, the DEA and the Orange County regional narcotics supression team served federal search warrants at three southland locations as part of an ongoing effort to bring down a viscous group of drug traffickers, officials said Thursday.
The group, known as the Jorge Cuveas-Mares DTO, was targeted by the Whittier PD, but hte investigation quickly became national in scope, a Whittier PD official said.
Warrants were also served in LA, San Francisco, Detroit, Indianapolis, Philly and Dodge City, Kansas.
The investigation ultimately resulted in the seizure of 300 kilos of coke, 160 pounds of meth and $3 million in cash.
Arrested were Jennifer and Nicolas Sendis of Whittier. They are in federal custody.