17 arrested in California on drug trafficking charges

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) — Seventeen members of an alleged local drug trafficking organization were arrested and accused of importing methamphetamine from Mexico and distributing it in southern California, authorities said.

Ventura County sheriff’s deputies seized 192 pounds (87 kilograms) of methamphetamine, 5 pounds (2 kilograms) of heroin, 500 fentanyl pills, $208,000 in cash and a firearm during the arrests, the Ventura County Star reported. The drugs had a combined value of more than $700,000.

The arrests took place from March to July during a four-month investigation by state and federal authorities.

Those arrested range in age from 20 to 56, and include residents of Oxnard, Ventura, Santa Paula, Bakersfield and Porterville. Some of those arrested have since been released.

Some of those arrested allegedly coordinated drug shipments in Mexico for delivery into the United States, employed people to transport the drugs into Ventura County and then distributed them to local dealers, investigators said.

Investigators identified stash houses, transportation routes and co-conspirators after conducting surveillance, serving search warrants and conducting interviews, authorities said.

The investigation was conducted by multiple agencies including the Ventura County Combined Agency Team, Ventura County sheriff’s office, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The case was submitted to the Ventura County district attorney’s office for criminal filing, authorities said.