BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Federal authorities said Friday eight people were arrested in Kern County in connection with trying to smuggle hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine and fentanyl.
Those charged in unsealed 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.
The suspects are due in court Monday, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California. A conviction on the charged offenses carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, up to a maximum of life in prison, and a $10 million fine.
“The success of this operation highlights the importance and necessity of law enforcement partnerships across the spectrum,” said Homeland Security Investigations NorCal Special Agent in Charge Tatum King, in the release.
According to the release, Navarro oversaw a drug-trafficking operation from Bakersfield while others transported drugs for him. From September to December of last year, law enforcement stopped those drivers and seized more than 380 pounds of meth and eight pounds of fentanyl concealed in the vehicles.
On Dec. 27, 2020, according to the release, Martinez was stopped by law enforcement on Interstate 5 as he tried to smuggle 18 pounds of meth from Bakersfield to Texas. Also in December, Mercado and Gordon bought large amounts of meth from other members of the organization with the intent to distribute the drugs to customers, the release says.