California prosecutes drug ring with connections to Juneau

    Modesto, California (KINY) - The final defendant in a multi-state drug ring, Joseph Vasquez, 32, received the harshest sentence of 320 months in jail.

    The US Attorney for the Eastern District of California McGregor W. Scott reported the drug ring from Modesto, California, smuggled drugs between January of 2015 and April of 2018.  Authorities said they seized 45 pounds of methamphetamine, four pounds of heroin, and three pounds of cocaine after a year-long investigation.

    Vasquez went on trial last fall and was found guilty of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine.

    Five co-defendants charged on April 5, 2018, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, including methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin. Alecia Trapps, 56, of Manteca, is scheduled to be sentenced on March 30, 2020. Jimmy Brantley, 42, of Manteca, was sentenced on Oct. 28, 2019, to 10 years in prison. On Oct. 21, 2019, Carmen Conejo, 53, of Long Beach, was sentenced to five years of probation; Ernest Westley, 62, of Modesto, was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison; and Sheena Taylor, 41, of Modesto, was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison.

    According to court documents and evidence produced at trial, Vasquez was part of a drug trafficking organization operating in the Central Valley, Alaska, and Tacoma, Washington between Jan. 1, 2015, and April 11, 2018. As a result of the year-long investigation, 45 pounds of methamphetamine, 4 pounds of heroin and 3 pounds of cocaine were seized. On Oct. 3, 2019, after a three-day trial, a federal jury in Fresno found Vasquez guilty of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine.

    This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the United States Postal Inspection Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the Central Valley Gang Impact Task Force, Modesto Police Department, Manteca Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Department (Washington), Pierce County Sheriff’s Department (Washington), and Juneau Police Department (Alaska). A


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