Ventura County – 15 arrested! A year-long investigation by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, the Oxnard Police Department, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Simi Valley Police Department, and the Ventura County Combined Agency Task Force has paid off…bigtime.
In the report filed by VCSD spokesman Sgt. Steve Trickle on October 2nd, the arrests of fifteen individuals suspected of “the distribution of controlled substances throughout Ventura and Los Angeles Counties” in the last week of September brought a major narcotics operation to an end.
In the first place, according to Trickle, law enforcement got wind of the drug trafficking organization known as “La Familia” in September 2017. Moreover they identified 29-year-old Los Angeles resident Omar Rangel as the leader of a ring involving “numerous persons.”
The group was suspected of being involved with the movement of “substantial quantities of narcotics originating from a drug cartel in Sinaloa, Mexico. Once the contraband was across the U.S.-Mexico border, Rangel and his minions delivered the drugs to “bulk-quantity traffickers” in Ventura County.
Once Rangel was identified, detectives from multiple agencies began serving search warrants which soon lead to the discovery of “large amounts of narcotics” and evidence of ongoing wholesale drug marketing.
As detectives executed their search warrants, they began seizing contraband which ultimately amounted to 161 pounds of methamphetamine, 121 pounds of cocaine, 13 pounds of heroin, 6.6 pounds of fentanyl, 600 fentanyl pills, 12 firearms, and more than $350,000 in cash. The drugs have a street value in excess of $10 million.
In addition to Rangel, those arrested and booked into Ventura County Jail on multiple charges of drug trafficking and firearms possession are:
• Bryan Vega of Reseda, 20
• Nancy Romero of Canoga Park, 33
• Cesar Alvarez Serrano of Winnetka, 30
• Alma Ceja of Downey, 47
• Richard Kevin Riley of Hollywood, 48
• Rhonda Harvey of Van Nuys, 47
• William Kragthorpe of Sherman Oaks, 54
• Xavier Lozano of Imperial Beach, 27
• Jose Florentino Soto of Los Angeles, 40
• Jorge Antonio Jiminez of Sylmar, 43
• Alondra Banuelos of Sylmar, 23
• Melissa Arnold of Oxnard, 45
• Joshua Grimes of Simi Valley, 34
• Joseph Rigoberto Soto-Oropeza of Los Angeles, 32
Photos: Courtesy of Ventura County Jail Booking