Fresno is such a notorious location for the use and sale of meth that the BBC aired a documentary about it called The City Addicted to Crystal Meth in 2009. Located in California’s Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), Fresno is part of the nation’s center of meth production and distribution.
As part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, DEA agents worked with state and local law enforcement agencies to intercept two separate sets of meth traffickers in Fresno in April 2015. Their work resulted in federal indictments being handed down on May 14, 2015.
In one case, Armando Perez and Christian Sandoval were charged with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute meth after they provided 1 ounce, 1 pound, and then 10 pounds of meth to an undercover officer. Perez could get a $35 million fine and life in prison if convicted, while Sandoval faces a potential $1 million fine and 20 years in prison.
A separate case involved Eduardo Fernandez, Miguel Medina, and Alexis Antonio Alvarez Guzman. While serving a search warrant, agents found 16 pounds of meth that Fernandez had delivered to Guzman’s residence, and Fernandez also faces a possible life sentence along with a $30 million fine. Medina and Fernandez face 20 years and a $1 million fine on each of two counts.
While these busts take high-level dealers off the street, meth production in the Central Valley HIDTA is likely to remain a problem given the entrenchment of Mexican cartels in this area. The combination of chemical supply companies with major interstate highways that readily connect to the rest of the country provide these traffickers with the means to produce and distribute this high value drug to parts of the country that provide higher profits for them.