Photo: Evidence seized during search warrants | Ventura County Sheriff’s Office
Written By: Robert L. McCullough
December 22, 2022 – If we think that the national epidemic of fatal fentanyl overdoses and the frequent news reports of massive Mexican cartel drug trafficking is merely something drummed up by media outlets to generate television ratings…we might want to consider the December 21st arrests of five men working at the behest of a known Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO).
According to Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Robert Davidson, the VCSD Narcotics Bureau became aware of the activities of 40-year-old Santa Barbara resident Jesus Villalba in November of this year. Suspected of involvement in “trafficking cocaine into Ventura County,” detectives coordinated with deputies attached to the Camarillo Police Department to make contact with him on November 15th . Villalba and the passenger in the car he was driving, 33-year-old La Puente resident Ignacio Perez were contacted and found to be in possession of “two kilograms of cocaine” at that time. Both men were arrested and charged with transporting and possession of cocaine with the intent to sell.
While Villalba and Perez cooled their jets in jail, “additional information” was garnered that led to the identification of 48-year-old Adelando, Ca. resident Armando Zavala as actively engaged as a DTO operative “responsible for trafficking methamphetamine into Ventura County.” On the morning of December 21st , Zavala was apprehended in Camarillo while in the process of delivering “35 pounds of methamphetamine” to buyers located in Westlake, Ca.
Shortly thereafter, detectives identified “a shipment of methamphetamine and fentanyl enroute to the city of Westlake” and the vehicle being used to transport it. Detectives located the suspect vehicle and arrested 20-year-old Long Beach resident Jorge Pena-Nicols and 29- year-old Pomona resident Michael Morales when they were found to be in possession of “30 pounds of methamphetamine and 20,000 fraudulent Oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl.”
With the street value of the contraband seized “estimated at $1,113,200, all five men remain in custody on a no-bail hold.