FRESNO, Calif. — Following a multi-agency investigation in Fresno County that focused on crimes of violence, drug sales and illegal possession of firearms, 10 federal defendants were arrested Thursday for extortion, drug trafficking, violent crimes and firearms crimes.
US Attorney Phillip A. Talbert, Fresno County Sheriff John Zanoni, Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama, Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp, FBI Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan, Department of Justice Special Agent in Charge of California Rachel Capello, California Highway Patrol (MAGEC) Capt. Jon Staricka and DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian Clark made the announcement.
According to the criminal complaint, in July 2021, Fresno County law enforcement teamed up to investigate ongoing criminal activities committed by gang members for the benefit of the company formed by the coordination of the Nuestra Familia prison gang and the gang. street criminal Norteño. . Crimes include murder with the help of organized crime, sale of illegal narcotics, illegal sale and distribution of firearms, and intimidation of witnesses and victims.
On May 25, 2023, nearly 550 federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel executed 54 search warrants in Parlier, Reedley, Del Rey, Dinuba, and Clovis. Forty-nine firearms, ammunition, firearm magazines, currency, and controlled substances were seized. More than 25 criminal street gang members and associates have been arrested and charged with crimes in federal or state court.
The federal defendants and their charges are as follows:
Victor Javier Zermeno, 34, of Clovis, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine;
Matthew Pete Mendez, 32, of Reedley, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of fentanyl, and felony possession of a firearm;
Miguel Ángel Barragán, 27, of Parlier, is charged with Conspiracy to Commit Murder for Extortion and Attempted Murder for Extortion, Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Violent Crime (Attempted Murder for Extortion ), being a criminal in possession of a firearm and attempted bribery;
Joey Noel Magadan, 20, of Cutler, is charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering murder and attempted racketeering murder, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime (attempted racketeering murder, of organized crime), interference with commerce through robbery and the use, possession or brandishing of a firearm during and in connection with a crime of violence and complicity;
Jonathan Maldonado, 33, of Parlier, is charged with Conspiracy to Commit Extortion Murder and Attempted Extortion Murder, Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Violent Crime (Extortion Attempted Murder) and being a felon in possession of ammunition;
Ezequiel Maximino Guzman, 18, of Del Rey, is charged with conspiracy to commit murder for extortion and attempted murder for extortion, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime (attempted murder for extortion). of extortion);
Victor Diaz-Aguilar, 30, of Fresno, is charged with being a felon in possession of ammunition;
Francisco Diaz-Salinas, 40, of Parlier, is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm;
Eduardo Amezcua, 32, of Reedley, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine;
Michael Neri, 33, of Reedley, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine;
Alejandro Hawkins, 24, of Reedley, is charged with cocaine distribution;
Francisco Ferman, 28, of Delano, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine;
Iván Hernández, 25, of Parlier, is accused of interfering with commerce through robbery and using, carrying or brandishing a firearm during and in connection with a crime of violence and complicity.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC), the District Attorney’s Office of Fresno County, the California Department of Justice, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Assistant US Attorney Antonio Pataca is prosecuting the case.
The potential maximum sentences defendants face if convicted of the charges range from five years in prison to life in prison. However, any sentence would be determined at the discretion of the court after considering any applicable legal factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are just accusations; Defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and make our neighborhoods safer. for all. On May 26, 2021, the US Department of Justice launched a Violent Crime Reduction Strategy that strengthens PSN based on these core principles: Build trust and legitimacy in our communities, Support community organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring results.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using an intelligence-driven, prosecutor-led, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at www.justice.gov/OCDETF.