FRESNO – On November 26, 2018, Oscar Ivan Salazar-Avalos, 28, a citizen of Mexico, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, crimes that could result in decades in prison.
According to court documents, Salazar and his co-defendant Jose Manuel Sotelo-Mendoza, 26, of Ceres, delivered 15 pounds of methamphetamine to an undercover officer in Delano after Salazar negotiated with the officer to sell the drug for $3,400 per pound. In pleading guilty, Salazar acknowledged that he and Sotelo had met his source of supply in Castaic in the northern part of Los Angeles County to obtain the 15 pounds of methamphetamine. In addition, Salazar indicated that they intended to make $51,000 on the deal.
Salazar is scheduled for sentencing on February 19, 2019. He faces a minimum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison, along with a $10 million fine.
Charges are pending against Sotelo.
“This case is the outcome of many agencies on the local, state and federal level, working together,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Arresting someone who can produce 15 pounds of meth to a buyer has to put a small dent in drug trafficking.”
This case is the product of an investigation by the Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, consisting of law enforcement officers of Homeland Security Investigations, California Highway Patrol, Bureau of Investigation of the California Department of Justice, Fresno Police Department, and Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen A. Escobar is prosecuting the case.