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Turlock man charged for large-scale drug trafficking operation

A federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment against Luis Armando Romero Jr., 20, of Turlock, charging him with distribution of methamphetamine.

According to court documents, on Jan. 28, in Merced County, Romero sold approximately 1 kilogram of a mixture containing methamphetamine. Subsequently, on April 6, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Romero’s residence in Huntington Beach and found approximately 280 pounds (127 kilograms) of methamphetamine, 55 pounds (25 kilograms) of cocaine, 20 pounds (9 kilograms) of fentanyl pills, 6.6 pounds (3 kilograms) of fentanyl powder, and 2 pounds (907 grams) of heroin. Agents also seized more than $73,000 in cash.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the California Department of Justice, the Merced Area Gang and Narcotic Enforcement Team, the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Antonio J. Pataca and Kathleen Servatius are prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Romero faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of up to life in prison and a fine of up to $10 million. 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 charge is only an allegation, the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.