Almost 20 people were arrested in a combined operation by San Francisco police and federal agents on charges of drug trafficking. Titled Operation Disco Dazed, enforcement authorities raided over 12 marijuana operations in commercial and residential properties.
Authorities Confiscate Drugs and Weapons
According to Casey Rettig, spokeswoman of Drug Enforcement Administration, authorities have confiscated weapons such as grenade launchers and several dozens of guns. They also took into evidence processed marijuana of more than 50 pounds and nearly 4000 marijuana plants. In addition, the police recovered large bundles of money amounting to almost $500,000.
Rettig added that after a meticulous and laborious investigation that lasted for a year, federal investigators zeroed in on gardening equipment stores located at Hayward and Tracy which were the central locations of trafficking operations. The stores are owned by a husband and wife team, Marla Ortega and Steven Ortega Sr.
Suspects Delay Entering Plea
Although all the suspects, including the Ortegas, were presented in San Francisco federal court, they did not enter a plea. Along with the Ortegas, their adult children have also been charged with growing and selling marijuana.
In exchange for a share of the proceeds from the drug sale, the Ortegas have also been charged with providing funds and equipment to marijuana growers. According to Anthony Williams, DEA Special Agent, Steven Ortega Sr, 50, and Steven Ortega Jr, 25, are the leaders of the marijuana operation.
Federal officials sanctioned an arrest warrant after building their case with electronic surveillance on telephone calls, testimony from informants and electricity records. A majority of the marijuana was sold in Los Angeles or other parts of the country. The commercial and residential properties which were used to sell the drugs are situated in Mountain House, Rio Vista, Patterson, Salida, Fresno and Tracy.
Christopher Morales is an experienced San Francisco Criminal Lawyer. For expert advice from a Drug Possession Criminal Defense Attorney San Francisco, contact us.