03/15/2007

Police score $300,000 meth bust in Calif.

By Harry Harris
Inside Bay Area
Related Story: Record methamphetamine drug bust in Ga.: buried in backyard of suburban home

OAKLAND, Calif. — A man considered one of the city's major methamphetamine suppliers was arrested Wednesday morning after at least $300,000 worth of the drug was found inside and underneath his East Oakland house, police said.

Officers had to search underneath the house themselves because the dog that normally does it for them was bitten by a rattlesnake Tuesday and was out of action.

Besides finding more than two pounds of methamphetamine, police also seized three ounces of cocaine, four guns and $2,000 in cash at the 82nd Avenue home of the suspect, Armando Galvez, 34, investigators said.

He refused to talk to police.

The arrest and discovery of the drugs ended a three-week investigation led by Gang Unit officers Eric Milina and Rob Roche.

Gang Unit supervisor Sgt. Randy Brandwood said Galvez "was not a street dealer — he supplied street dealers."

He said police found evidence at the house, including bus tickets that indicated Galvez used people known as "mules" to transport the methamphetamine to Oakland from Mexico through Arizona.

The gang unit, assisted by officers with the Police and Corrections Together team, served a search warrant just after 7 a.m. Wednesday at the house where Galvez lived with his wife, two children and sister-in-law.

Galvez threw some methamphetamine out a window before officers got inside and arrested him. Some more meth and the cocaine, guns and cash were found inside the house.

The majority of the methamphetamine was found by Milina in a Tupperware container hidden in the 2-foot crawlspace underneath the house.

Galvez was arrested on suspicion of possession of meth and cocaine for sale, and possession of firearms in commission of a felony.

Police said Galvez is in the United States illegally and the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has placed a hold on him.

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