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Turlock, Ceres men indicted for gun, drug charges

A federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment Thursday against Doroteo Gonzales, 51, of Turlock, and Amado Escobedo Jr., 44, of Ceres, charging them with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and heroin, distribution of methamphetamine and heroin and being a felon in possession of firearms.

The charges arose out of a months-long investigation into drug trafficking in Stanislaus County. According to court documents, between November 2020 and May 2021, the defendants conspired to distribute pound quantities of methamphetamine and heroin in Stanislaus County. Escobedo is also charged with possessing methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine with the intent to distribute it on Aug. 25, 2021. In addition to the drug trafficking activity, each defendant possessed a firearm during the investigation. Both defendants are convicted felons prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Turlock Police Department, the Modesto Police Department, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Stanislaus County Probation Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine E. Schuh is prosecuting the case.

If convicted of the drug trafficking charges, Escobedo and Gonzales each face a mandatory minimum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine. If convicted of the firearms charges, Escobedo and Gonzales each face a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.