ICE seize 121 pounds of heroin in Southern California
By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press Writer
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A raid of a suspected drug house netted 121 pounds (55 kilograms) of brown heroin brought in from Mexico, the largest such seizure in California history and one of the 40 largest brown heroin busts in U.S. history, federal officials said.
The heroin was discovered late Wednesday by officers with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at a house in Anaheim, said William Hayes, assistant special agent-in-charge for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for Orange County. Four Mexicans and two California residents were arrested.
Officers also seized 34 pounds (15 kilograms) of marijuana and 3 pounds (1.4 kilograms) of a white powder that is likely methamphetamine, he said. Six people were arrested and held on suspicion of drug possession with intent to distribute, officials said Friday.
ICE officers found the heroin after U.S. Customs inspectors tipped them off to a car carrying five bundles of the drug that entered the United States from Mexico at the San Ysidro border crossing near San Diego. Immigration officials tracked the car to the home in Anaheim and conducted the raid that night, officials said.
The heroin had a street value of up to $6 million (euro4.6 million), said Wayne Rositano, resident agent-in-charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Orange County.
The second-largest largest seizure of brown heroin in California history was last year east of Los Angeles, said Sarah Pullen, DEA spokeswoman. In all of 2006, DEA agents in the Los Angeles office seized a total of 176 pounds of brown heroin, she said.
Arrested were Luis Alcantar-Zepeda, 28, Jose Casares-Macias, 22, Jairo Ortiz-Diaz, 26 and Rosendo Churape-Cardenas, 37, all of Michoacan, Mexico; and Jacqueline Pimentel, 31 and Rosa Soto, 26, both of Anaheim. All six made initial court appearances Thursday but have not yet been arraigned.
Joel Levine, an attorney representing Ortiz-Diaz, said he has not had time to talk with his client at length about the case.
"I don't anticipate knowing much more about this case until a week from now when they start sharing the discovery," he said.
Attorneys for several of the other defendants did not immediately return messages or could not be reached.