HSI arrests 8 for trafficking fentanyl and seizes hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine in Bakersfield
FRESNO, Calif. - Eight people were arrested by Special Agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Kern County on March 26, and are now facing federal drug trafficking charges -following HSI’s months-long probe into a Bakersfield-based drug trafficking organization that attempted to smuggle hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine and fentanyl.
Those charged in the federal criminal complaint are: Omar Alberto Navarro, 38, of Arvin; David Delgado Gonzalez, 37, of Bakersfield; Amayrani Jared Arreguin, 24, of Bakersfield; Lizette Mendez, 31, of Delano; Mayra Guadalupe Galvan, 31, of Delano; Miguel Angel Martinez, 26, of Bakersfield; Randal Jason Newell, 41, of Bakersfield; Daniel Armendariz Mercado, 31, of Bakersfield, and James Scott Gordon, 47, of Chico.
According to court documents, Navarro oversaw the wide-ranging drug trafficking organization from Bakersfield. Mendez, Galvan, Newell, and others transported narcotics for the organization. Between September and December 2020, those drivers were intercepted by law enforcement who seized a total of more than 380 pounds of methamphetamine and more than eight pounds of fentanyl that were concealed in their vehicles. On Dec. 27, 2020, Martinez was stopped by law enforcement on Interstate 5 as he attempted to smuggle 18 pounds of methamphetamine from Bakersfield to Texas. Additionally, in December 2020, Mercado and Gordon purchased large amounts of methamphetamine from other members of the drug trafficking organization with the intent to distribute the narcotics to customers.
If convicted of the charged offenses, each defendant faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison up to a maximum of life in prison, and a $10 million fine.
Law enforcement agencies partnering with HSI to provide investigational assistance include: the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Customs and Border Protection, the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service, the Bakersfield Police Department, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, the Shafter Police Department, the Kern County Probation Department, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the California Department of Motor Vehicles, and the California Highway Patrol.
The case is being prosecuted by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.
HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 Special Agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.