A federal drug bust that grew out of an investigation of a drug distribution ring in Turlock has resulted in a prison sentence for a Delhi man.
Additionally, a Turlock couple has pled guilty to their roles in the ring and a third Turlock man is awaiting trial.
The cases are the result of an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency, with assistance from the Central Valley California High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force, and the California Multi-Jurisdictional Methamphetamine Enforcement Team.
The task forces launched the investigation in October 2008 after receiving a tip that a methamphetamine distribution ring was being run out of Stanislaus and Merced counties. At the conclusion of the nine-month long investigation, agents arrested dozens of suspects and seized cash, weapons and narcotics. Most of the homes searched were located in Turlock.
One of the suspects arrested during the raid was Raymond D. Mendosa Jr., 43, of Delhi. Mendosa was found guilty of conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute crystal methamphetamine. He was sentenced to 14 years in a federal prison on Friday.
According to court documents, Mendosa stashed methamphetamine in rural road ditches and edges of cornfields at night to conceal his drug trafficking activities and then retrieved the drug the next day for distribution in the Stanislaus and Merced County areas. This investigation included five federal wiretaps of a phone used by Mendosa and one of his sources of drug supply, Noel Castillo, 37, of Turlock.
Castillo, and his wife, Denice Marie Hector, 34, along with Alfredo Ayala, aka “Pollo” all of Turlock were indicted in federal court in Fresno on drug charges. Seven additional defendants were charged at the state level as a result of the investigation.
Castillo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 9. His wife, Hector, has entered a guilty plea to lying to DEA agents about the contents of a safe deposit box containing $199,832 in cash that she maintained for Castillo. Ayala, who was identified during the course of the investigation as a source of methamphetamine supply for Castillo, is scheduled for a jury trial in August.
Through the investigation agents seized eight pounds of crystal methamphetamine, $849,095 in cash, 14 firearms and one hand grenade.
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