A joint taskforce between local and federal law enforcement authorities announced charges Tuesday against 21 people allegedly involved in a drug trafficking and distribution scheme in the Inland Empire.
The two-year investigation resulted in the seizure of thirty-thousand dollars in cash, a variety of weapons and over one-hundred pounds of methamphetamine—much of which is believed to have been driven over the Mexico border and into Riverside County. Kristi Johnson, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles Bureau said these numbers are particularily significant, "because the defendants were able to smuggle these drugs across the border during COVID."
It was a big victory in making the community safer after recent increases in violent crime said Riverside Police Chief Larry Gonzalez. “It’s important to me that our residents are able to enjoy the community without a fear of violence, but also without the fear that they could become prey to addiction, or even death due to some of these harmful drugs being sold in some of our neighborhoods,” said Gonzalez.
Officials from the taskforce, which also includes the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, and the Drug Enforcement Agency, said in many cases the meth was distributed by local Riverside gangs, and the proceeds benefitted the Mexican mafia.
The defendants in this federal indictment face mandatory minimum 10-year prison sentences.