FRESNO - Eight people were arrested in Kern County on March 26, 2021, following a months-long investigation into a Bakersfield-based drug trafficking organization that attempted to smuggle hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine and fentanyl. A ninth suspect is in custody in Chico.
Those charged in the federal criminal complaint are:
- Omar Alberto Navarro, 38, of Arvin;
- David Delgado Gonzalez, 37, of Bakersfield;
- Amayrani Jared Arreguin, 24, of Bakersfield;
- Lizette Mendez, 31, of Delano;
- Mayra Guadalupe Galvan, 31, of Delano;
- Miguel Angel Martinez, 26, of Bakersfield;
- Randal Jason Newell, 41, of Bakersfield;
- Daniel Armendariz Mercado, 31, of Bakersfield,
- and James Scott Gordon, 47, of Chico.
According to court documents, Navarro oversaw the wide-ranging drug trafficking organization from Bakersfield. Mendez, Galvan, Newell, and others transported narcotics for the organization. Between September and December 2020, those drivers were intercepted by law enforcement who seized a total of more than 380 pounds of methamphetamine and more than eight pounds of fentanyl that were concealed in their vehicles.
On Dec. 27, 2020, Martinez was stopped by law enforcement on Interstate 5 as he allegedly attempted to smuggle 18 pounds of methamphetamine from Bakersfield to Texas. Also in December 2020, Mercado and Gordon allegedly purchased large amounts of methamphetamine from other members of the drug trafficking organization with the intent to distribute the narcotics to customers.
This case is the product of an investigation by:
- Homeland Security Investigations,
- the Drug Enforcement Administration,
- the U.S. Marshals Service,
- the U.S. Postal Inspection Service,
- Customs and Border Protection,
- the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives,
- the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
- the U.S. Secret Service,
- the Bakersfield Police Department,
- the Kern County Sheriff’s Office,
- the Shafter Police Department,
- the Kern County Probation Department,
- the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation,
- the California Department of Motor Vehicles,
- and the California Highway Patrol.
“The investigative and law enforcement efforts by these agencies prevented a lot of illegal drugs from reaching the streets of California communities,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “The use of these illegal substances wreak havoc in homes and neighborhoods. Great job by all who worked to prevent the seized drugs from being sold on the streets.”
If convicted of the charged offenses, each defendant faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison up to a maximum of life in prison, and a $10 million fine. The charges are allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.