California suspects used ‘call centers’ to sell heroin from Mexico in Orange County

Date:

Two Southern California call centers that facilitated illegal drug deliveries distributed at least $2 million worth of heroin before a federal grand jury indicted 19 people in connection with the scheme, authorities said Tuesday. The 13-count federal indictment charges the defendants with offenses tied to narcotics and money laundering. Twelve of them are in custody and expected to be arraigned in federal court in Santa Ana on Tuesday. The remaining seven are being sought.

Authorities say the suspects operated a heroin ring between March 2017 and this April in Orange County by obtaining the drugs from suppliers in the U.S. and Mexico. Drug mules brought the heroin, sometimes concealed in their bodies, to Southern California.

Two brothers, Julio Cesar Martinez and Victor Martinez, organized the call centers and used two other defendants, Maricela Guerrero and Marla Portillo Cordova, to run the call centers and organize deliveries, according to the indictment.

At one point, a defendant didn’t mention that one of the call centers was closing early, even though more heroin was needed that day for customers.

The suspects also are accused of depositing the money in different bank accounts to avoid federal reporting requirements, an offense that dates to 2013, officials said.

Several other defendants were involved in delivering the narcotic to buyers and collecting money in exchange for a cut of the profits or heroin, the indictment alleged.

Martinez allegedly obtained the heroin from Roberto Romero Sanchez in Mexico and Victor Romero in the United States. The conspiracy allegedly involved couriers to sneak the drug from Mexico to Orange County.

The defendants are:

Julio Cesar Martinez;

Victor Martinez;

Victor Romero Jr.;

Martin Cervantes Romero;

Roberto Romero Sanchez;

Violeta Romero;

Maricela Guerrero;

Marla Portillo Cordova;

Daniel Zapien;

Erik Bright;

Megan Ellis;

Victor Moreta;

Shannon Jacobi;

Hunter Sanders;

Jose Cervantes;

Alicia Carillo Gonzalez;

Angel Cervantes;

Francisco Serrano and;

Alicia Cervantes.

Fox 11 | Contributed

Find your latest news here at the Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:

Subscribe to The Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle

Popular

More like this
Related

Where 3 Democrats who could replace Biden atop the ticket stand on health care

President Biden’s decision to drop out of the presidential race has left the Democratic campaign in chaos.

‘Erratic and assaultive’ man armed with machete shot by Riverside County sheriff’s deputy

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a deputy-involved shooting that killed a man who was allegedly armed and behaving erratically in the Santa Ana River.

Felon Who Severely Beat Lake Elsinore Girlfriend Pleads Guilty

A convicted felon who severely beat his girlfriend at her Lake Elsinore residence, then barricaded himself in the home, culminating in a standoff with sheriff's deputies, pleaded guilty Thursday to domestic violence.

The Impacts of Excessive Heat on Unsheltered Individuals in the Inland Empire and Beyond

Throughout the summer record breaking heat has swathed Southern California. In July, multiple excessive heat warnings were issued across Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.