LOS ANGELES – After a six-month investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Los Angeles Division and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) arrested 11 federal defendants and six state defendants in the early morning hours in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley in Los Angeles County. View the video here (link is external). There are three fugitives who were indicted but not arrested.
From February to July, ATF and LAPD operated a joint investigation called Crime Area Gun Enforcement (CAGE) Valley Bureau working the streets and targeting violent offenders, the criminal activity of gang members, shooters and multi-convicted felons. These individuals were involved in illegal firearm possession/sales, narcotics distribution and shootings within the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County.
Investigators used confidential informants to introduce an ATF undercover agent who made controlled purchases of contraband from the suspects resulting in the seizure of 30 weapons including restricted firearms such as short-barrel rifles and silencers, and approximately 18 pounds of methamphetamine. The investigation also uncovered two locations where AR-15 and AK-47 type rifles were being clandestinely manufactured and illegally sold. The contraband purchased in the investigation included:
5 National Firearm Act (NFA) weapons (two short-barrel rifles, one short-barrel shotgun, and two silencers)
More than 400 rounds of assorted ammunition
Approximately 18 pounds of methamphetamine
Narcotics to include MDMA, marijuana and cocaine
Today, approximately 300 law enforcement personnel served the early morning warrants. As result, an additional 13 firearms (eight pistols, four rifles and one shot gun), approximately 2 ½ pounds of methamphetamine, more than 500 rounds of ammunition, $10,000 in currency, and various amounts of heroin, crack cocaine, firearm manufacturing tools, and drug paraphernalia were seized during search warrants.
Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) took custody of 14 children and placed them in protective care.
“ATF is committed to reducing violent crime,” said ATF Los Angeles Field Division Special Agent in Charge Eric Harden. “ATF accomplishes this by working with LAPD and identifying and targeting criminal organizations and the persons responsible for perpetrating violence in our communities.
Working together we successfully arrested 11 federal defendants with a criminal history of more than 100 prior arrests and more than two dozen felony convictions. The six state defendants with a combined criminal history of more than 30 prior arrests and more than a handful of felony convictions.”
The investigation did not target specific criminal organizations but instead the worst criminal activity to include recent shootings related to street gangs Blythe, Langdon, Pacoima and San Fer.
“There is no doubt that removing guns from our streets and arresting criminals who use and carry guns prevents senseless violence in our communities,” said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. “Removing even one gun from the streets means one less Angeleno robbed, shot, or murdered. Nearly 950 people have been shot in Los Angeles this year, 169 have been murdered with a firearm. Removing illegal guns is one of the LAPD’s highest priorities and working with our federal partners will help make our communities safer.”
Over the past several weeks, federal grand juries returned nine indictments that charge 13 defendants. Those defendants facing federal charges are:
Fidel Moreno-Dominguez, 47, of Palmdale, and Walter Wilfredo Lagos, 34, of Palmdale, a fugitive, are charged with conspiracy to distribute one pound of methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine. Moreno-Dominguez is additionally charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm after being convicted of selling narcotics.
Robert Steven Carrillo, 31, of Redlands, and Alexander Ramirez Manzo (also known as “Dozer”), 34, of Pacoima, are charged with conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, and possession of unregistered firearms. Manzo additionally is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm after being convicted of burglary and sale of a controlled substance.
Brandon C. Torres, 30, of Van Nuys, is charged with engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition after being convicted of possession of a controlled substance, and distribution of approximately one-quarter pound of methamphetamine.
Antonio Cisneros, also known as “Trippy,” 31, of North Hollywood, a fugitive, and Gino Cesar Dresda, 24, of Panorama City, are charged with distribution of approximately one-quarter pound of methamphetamine. Additionally, Cisneros is charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, distribution of a second quarter-pound of methamphetamine, and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition after being convicted of possessing a controlled substance and firearms offenses.
Anival Alvarez, 41, of San Fernando, and Maribel Lopez-Reyes, 30, also of San Fernando, are charged with for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and two counts of distributing approximately one-quarter pound of methamphetamine.
Luis Angel Torres, 28, of Palmdale, is charged with engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, and two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition after being convicted of possession for sale of a controlled substance.
Rudy Salazar, 36, of Mission Hills, is charged with distribution of approximately one-quarter pound of methamphetamine.
Albert Benjamin Perez, also known as “Dragon,” 57, of Granada Hills, is charged with distribution of methamphetamine.
Steven Clyde Neaville, 53, of Van Nuys, is charged with distribution of approximately one-quarter pound of methamphetamine.
Those taken into federal custody today are expected to be arraigned this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles. The federal defendants are facing statutory maximum sentences ranging from five years in federal prison to life imprisonment for the charges contained in the indictments. Some of the federal defendants are also facing mandatory minimum sentences of five or 10 years in connection with certain drug distribution charges.
State defendants include:
Manuel R. Moreno, 35, aka “Bobby” or “Mo,” a multi-convicted felon in possession of a loaded shotgun in violation of California Penal Code 29800 PC.
Urban A. Jones, 29, a fugitive, who sold a pistol in violation of California Penal Code 26500 PC and an AR or AK variant-type rifle that meets the definition in California Penal Code 30515(a)(4)(A)(C)(D) in violation of California Penal Code 30600(a) PC.
Additional state defendants that were already in police custody for previous charges include:
Jose L. Hernandez, 28, aka “Pollo,” allegedly a felon in possession of firearm and ammunition in violation are California Penal Code 29800 PC.
Audel Rangel Jr., 42, alleged possession of a concealed firearm in violations are California Penal Code 25400 PC.
Jimmy Meza, 29, allegedly in possession of narcotics in violation of California Health & Safety Code 11378.
Erik Moneterroz allegedly a felon in possession of firearm and ammunition and possession for sales of narcotics in violation of California Penal Code 29800 PC and California Health & Safety Code 11378.
Juan Gerardo, aka “Necio,” allegedly in possession of a large capacity magazine in violation of California Penal Code 32450(c) PC.
The Los Angeles Police Department and its Gang and Narcotics Unit were instrumental in this joint investigation.