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Major methamphetamine investigation rolls into Turlock
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Investigators seized 1.40 pounds of methamphetamine, four firearms and approximately $6,000 in cash at the Turlock home of Asuncion Quintero, 38.

Early Friday morning the Turlock Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics team descended upon a residence on High Street and took a man into custody that investigators believe is part of am international drug ring manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine in California and other states in the west.

The suspect was identified as Asuncion Quintero, 38. His arrest on Friday morning was part of a multi-agency and months long investigation dubbed Operation Trifecta that included search warrants and arrests in multiple California counties.

The investigation was led by the Madera Narcotics Enforcement Team, the High-Intensity Investigation Team, the Fresno Drug Enforcement Administration with the assistance of Turlock Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit and other allied agencies.

“The Turlock Police Department is proud to participate in the dismantling drug operations with our allied agency partners,” said Turlock Police Chief Jason Hedden. “This type of collaboration demonstrates our commitment to making Turlock and neighboring communities safer through partnerships and networking. Taking these criminals off the street, coupled with the seizure of dangerous narcotics and firearms, is a win for everyone.”

The Turlock raid happened at 7 a.m. Friday in the 800 block of High Street. Investigators located and seized 1.40 pounds of methamphetamine, four firearms, two of which were fully assembled manufactured ghost guns and approximately $6,000 in cash at Quintero’s residence.

Quintero is suspected of being a sub-dealer of a large-scale Mexico-based drug trafficking organization that manufactures and distributes methamphetamine throughout California and neighboring states.

“Drug deals do not recognize jurisdictional boundaries when they bring their poison into our communities and we’ve made a commitment to working closely with neighboring law enforcement agencies to dismantle these operations from the top down,” said SIU Investigator Jacob Young.

Quintero was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail on charges related to the sales, transportation, and manufacturing of illegal narcotics and weapons violations.

Operation Trifecta began in July as authorities in Madera County started investigating the suspected drug trafficking activities of Ernesto Beltran. During the course of the investigation, detectives learned that Beltran was part of the drug trafficking organization in Mexico.

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Operation Trifecta resulted in nearly 30 arrests and the seizure of two kilograms of powdered fentanyl, four kilograms of black tar heroin, 1,305 pounds of methamphetamine, 2,000 M30 pills, eight firearms, $35,000 in asset forfeiture, and the dismantling of four active meth labs.

Investigators identified a large group of individuals who were involved in the importation, transportation, manufacturing, and distribution of methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl. The investigation revealed that methamphetamine in both liquid and solid form was transported into the United States through various points of entry. Once in the United States, the liquid methamphetamine was converted to crystal methamphetamine at what are known as “ice recovery labs.” Once processed into solid form, it was distributed throughout the western states.

Throughout the investigation, electronic intercepts were implemented to identify when drugs were being transported. Several traffic stops were orchestrated during the operation, resulting in the seizure of more than 230 pounds of methamphetamine, according to the Madera County Sheriff’s Department.

In a separate incident, detectives coordinated the interception of a vehicle coming across the border from Mexico with over 70 pounds of methamphetamine concealed in a spare tire.

A methamphetamine conversion lab was discovered in Ducor, Calf., resulting in the seizure of 500 pounds of finished product and 500 pounds in liquid form.


The investigation entered a new phase starting on oct. 26, when law enforcement began serving search warrants Madera, Fresno, Merced, and Tulare counties. While serving these search warrants investigators located three additional clandestine laboratories and made multiple arrests. A total of four clandestine methamphetamine labs, responsible for converting liquid methamphetamine to crystal methamphetamine, were identified during this investigation; One in Madera County, two in Tulare County, and one in Fresno County.


Operation Trifecta resulted in nearly 30 arrests and the seizure of two kilograms of powdered fentanyl, four kilograms of black tar heroin, 1,305 pounds of methamphetamine, 2,000 M30 pills, eight firearms, $35,000 in asset forfeiture, and the dismantling of four active meth labs. The operation resulted in the largest drug seizure in Madera County history.

To quantify further, the drug seizures equates to over 5,000,000 individual dosage units of methamphetamine, 10,000 dosage units of heroin, and 600,000 potentially fatal doses of fentanyl.

The arrests of individuals associated with the organization have produced various felony and misdemeanor charges including the transportation and sale of methamphetamine, manufacture of methamphetamine, child endangerment and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Bail amounts range from $500,000 to $10,000,000.

“This is a monumental day for public safety in Madera County,” said Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue. “The arrests made in this case, along with the closure of several processing labs and seizure of substantial amounts of drugs from their operation, will undoubtedly make a significant impact on the safety of the residents of Madera County and the state of California as a whole. We are thankful for the collaboration between our allied agencies to successfully navigate and conclude this investigation. This operation would not have yielded such positive results without the teamwork between the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, the Madera County District Attorney’s Office, Chowchilla Police Department, Madera County Probation, the California Highway Patrol, the California Department of Justice, Fresno Drug Enforcement Administration, US Customs and Border Patrol, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, Merced County Sheriff’s Office, Kings County Sheriff’s Office, and the Turlock Police Department. This historical investigation should be a compelling indication to all of the relentless efforts we dedicate to taking a stand against drugs, and the criminal activity they provoke, in Madera County.”

The Turlock Police Department asks that anyone with information about this investigation to call Investigator Jacob Young at (209) 668-6575. You can also contact the Turlock Police Department’s Tip Line at (209) 668-5550 extension 6575 or email at

The Turlock Police Department is an active participant in the Crime Stoppers Program. Callers can leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 and may be eligible for a cash reward.