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Contraband
11/30/2012

4 charged in HSI-led probe targeting Stockton-area drug distribution ring

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Federal and local investigators fanned out across San Joaquin County and the San Jose area Thursday morning to execute nine search warrants and arrest four suspects as part of a multi-agency probe into a local drug ring suspected of distributing high-grade methamphetamine.

The enforcement actions are the latest development in an ongoing investigation that commenced in March after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) received a lead about a possible methamphetamine distribution scheme operating in and around Lodi and Stockton. During the ensuing investigation, HSI undercover special agents posing as drug dealers bought methamphetamine from the case suspects on two occasions. Subsequent tests by a Drug Enforcement Administration lab indicated the substance was 99 percent pure D-methamphetamine-hydrochloride.

"This investigation has dealt a serious blow to a ring we believe was funneling significant quantities of high-grade methamphetamine into the San Joaquin Valley," said Clark Settles, special agent in charge for HSI San Francisco. "In fact, the methamphetamine seized in this case is some of the most pure we've seen locally. These arrests have disrupted a potentially deadly supply chain and prevented dangerous drugs from reaching our streets."

The defendants taken into custody Thursday as part of the case are:

  • Thomas Jaime Orozco, 31, of Stockton, the alleged leader of the organization;
  • Vincent Joseph Camarillo, 25, of Stockton, Orozco's cousin;
  • Theodore Roosevelt Ohagen, 21, of Stockton; and
  • Jeffrey Lawrence Lamendola, 50, of Lodi.

During Thursday's enforcement actions, investigators seized three pistols, including two that had been stolen, approximately $15,000 in cash, more than 1/4 pound of methamphetamine, along with small quantities of marijuana and cocaine.

The defendants are charged in a criminal complaint with distribution of methamphetamine and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. They are expected to make their initial appearance in federal court Friday afternoon in Sacramento. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California.

The allegations in the complaint are only accusations and all persons are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

HSI received substantial assistance with the case from the Lodi Police Department, the San Joaquin County Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force and the Manteca Police Department.