Santa Fe Springs men jailed in $35 million cocaine bust sentenced to prison

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

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Will it spill over the border?


Reports that two Mexican drug cartels have joined forces and have a combined fighting force of 100,000 foot soldiers has some local officials concerned that the drug war south of the border could spill into our communities.

The idea of such an alliance reminds me of the gang truce between rival hispanic street gangs that led to the rise of La Eme in the 1990s.

In any event, Mexican President Felipe Calderon defended his country’s efforts agsinst Narco-Terrorists in Mexico City this afternoon. Here’s Bloomberg’s take:

March 12 (Bloomberg) — Mexican President Felipe Calderon delivered his strongest defense yet of his government’s fight against drug cartels, alleging some U.S. officials are corrupt and accusing the media of lying.

“To say that Mexico doesn’t have authority over all of its national territory is absolutely false and absurd,” Calderon said today in Mexico City.

Mexico hasn’t lost any territory to traffickers, Calderon said. He criticized the media for mounting a campaign of “lies” against Mexico. His comments come two days after Dennis Blair, U.S. Director of National Intelligence, said Mexico isn’t in charge of parts of the country.

Calderon, 46, came to power in 2006 promising a crackdown on the cartels. He has sent tens of thousands of soldiers to areas where smugglers battle over routes into the U.S. Retaliating for arrests and record drug seizures, gangs beheaded rival smugglers, assassinated police officials and executed entire families.

The drug war is reducing annual gross domestic product by 1 percentage point, according to the government. Narcotics-related deaths more than doubled last year as Calderon‘s crackdown disrupted drug operations and increased competition for the best supply routes to the U.S.

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