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Mexican drug cartel arrest, guns and marijuana seized

Butte County Sheriff's Detectives arrested over 12 people in Brush Creek after finding more than $164,000 in a car during a traffic stop.

Posted: Nov 21, 2019 4:28 PM
Updated: Nov 21, 2019 4:49 PM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - Butte County Sheriff's Detectives arrested over 12 people in Brush Creek after finding more than $164,000 in a car during a traffic stop.

On Monday, Nov. 18, the Butte County Sheriff's Office Special Enforcement Unit executed search warrants at several properties along Bonnie Meadow Lane in Brush Creek.

The search warrants came as a result of information gathered by the Special Enforcement Unit during an investigation into $164,200 of U.S. currency found hidden in a car during a traffic enforcement stop on Nov. 6, detectives said.

Detectives said they developed probable cause to believe that three individuals arrested during the traffic enforcement stop were traveling from out of state to Bonnie Meadow Lane to purchase a large amount of marijuana, and were doing this while armed with weapons.

During the service of the search warrant, multiple Hispanic males ran off into a heavily wooded area, but detectives said they were able to detain 15 people.

Throughout the investigation, detectives determined all three properties were being controlled by the same individuals, as a marijuana operation that was being run by members of a Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization.

  • Detectives eradicated 1,204 live marijuana plants,
  • collected 278.91 pounds of processed marijuana bud,
  • 457.32 pounds of marijuana bud on the stem
  • 184.02 pounds of marijuana shake
  • Located and collected two illegal AR-15 rifles with high capacity magazines, one was a short-barreled rifle
  • One AK-47 with a high capacity magazine
  • Three pistols and ballistic rifle rated body armor
  • $14,380 in U.S. currency was seized

The following have been arrested:

  • Roberto Estrada, 38, from Mexico – For maintaining a residence for drug sales, employing a minor under 21 years of age to sell marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale.
  • Nestor Ortiz, 32, from Mexico – For maintaining a residence for drug sales, cultivation of marijuana, and possession of marijuana for sale.
  • Cristobal Briseno, 19, from Mexico – For cultivation of marijuana, and possession of marijuana for sale.
  • Orlando Martinez, 29, from Mexico – For cultivation of marijuana.
  • Emilio Orozco, 31, from Mexico – For cultivation of marijuana.
  • Daniel Perez, 22, from Mexico – For cultivation of marijuana.
  • Bernardo Ayalavarez, 34, from Mexico – For cultivation of marijuana.
  • Jennifer Marquez, 34, from Mexico – For cultivation of marijuana.
  • Vianney Barcena, 34, from Mexico – For cultivation of marijuana.
  • Beatriz Alvarez, 34, from Mexico – For cultivation of marijuana.
  • Carolina Ruiz, 20, from Mexico – For cultivation of marijuana.
  • Dulce Sanchez, 27, from Mexico – For cultivation of marijuana.

Deputies said additional suspects have been identified and arrest warrants will be sent out. The Butte County Sheriff's Office said they are also processing the illegal weapons for the presence of DNA. 

This investigation is ongoing.

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