FRESNO, Calif. – A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment Thursday charging three Fresno-area men with methamphetamine trafficking, following a multiagency probe that resulted in the seizure of nearly 100 pounds of the drug.
Manuel Maciel, 28, of Fresno; Juan Marcos Prado-Sandoval, 34, of Clovis; and Orlando Delfin-Lara, 21, of Fresno, are charged with conspiring to distribute and possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and with possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.
According to the indictment, authorities stopped Maciel in Kern County while he was driving to Fresno and found more than 48 pounds of methamphetamine in a false compartment in his vehicle. The indictment alleges Prado-Sandoval was stopped in Kern County while transporting more than six pounds of methamphetamine to Fresno. Finally, Delfin-Lara is accused of operating a methamphetamine conversion laboratory in a house at 5943 W. Birch Ave. in Fresno, where agents recovered approximately 42 pounds of methamphetamine as well as approximately 12 gallons of methamphetamine in solution. Agents also found four firearms and more than 5,000 rounds of ammunition at the residence.
This case is the result of a probe by the Fresno Methamphetamine Task Force, which includes U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Drug Enforcement Administration, the California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, the California Highway Patrol, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department and the Fresno Police Department. The Clovis Police Department also assisted in this long-term investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurel J. Montoya is prosecuting the case.
"Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive drug that destroys lives and devastates entire communities," said Mike Prado, resident agent in charge for HSI Fresno. "HSI will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners here in the Central Valley to combat the trafficking of this dangerous substance and see that those responsible are brought to justice."
If convicted, the defendants face a statutory penalty of 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.