FRESNO - On February 19, 2019 Jose Manuel Sotelo-Mendoza, 26, of Ceres, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He was busted when he and co-defendant Oscar Ivan Salazar-Avalos, 28, a citizen of Mexico, 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.
“Investigating drug sales and drug dealers is investigating armed and violent individuals who don’t have much to lose. It is dangerous work. I am grateful to the law enforcement officers who are on the frontlines of the drug investigations that take place in our state,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona.
Salazar is scheduled for sentencing on April 8, 2019. Sotelo is scheduled for sentencing on May 13, 2019. They both face a minimum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison, along with a $10 million fine.
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.