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Meth Dealers Tried and Failed to Disguise Drugs as Aztec Art

9:00 PM PDT on October 16, 2018

Courtesy of DOJ.

[dropcap size=big]F[/dropcap]ederal authorities arrested nine members of a Southern California drug ring trying to FedEx methamphetamine disguised as decorative Aztec calendars and statues to Hawaii, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Central District Office.

“Those drugs were part of a nearly 90-pound shipment that appeared to be colorful, decorative Mexican items, including replicas of the 500-year-old Aztec calendar stone,” the U.S. Attorney’s Central District Office said in the statement Tuesday.

RELATED: Cops Make $11 Million Drug Bust, Arrest 13 Suspected Sinaloa Cartel Members in the Valley and Ventura County

Courtesy of DOJ.
Courtesy of DOJ.

The nine members of the drug ring – including one who was already in custody for a crime not related to this case – are being charged with a series of crimes including conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, including three shipments this year.

The crew is accused of trying to ship about two pounds of meth to the island from a FedEx store in Santa Ana in January, according to the Los Angeles Times. In April, they tried sending nearly five pounds of meth that had been packed inside bags of ground coffee to Hawaii from a FedEx store in Cypress.

In the third shipment, the crew tried to mail about 25 pounds (11.7 kg) of meth from a post office in Garden Grove. Authorities intercepted all three shipments.

The Department of Justice described specific jobs performed by the individuals named in the indictment. It was the job of Felix Salgado, a 28 year old resident of Perris, to get wholesale quantities of meth on behalf of the conspiracy. German Bastidas Nunez, a.k.a. “Cheque,” a 46-year-old resident of Moreno Valley, was Felix’s supplier. He was the guy the federal authorities already had in custody.

Courtesy of DOJ.
Courtesy of DOJ.

Vaimanino Lee Pomele, 49, of Garden Grove, allegedly organized the shipments to Hawaii. His wife, Alejandra Pomele, 44, also of Garden Grove, allegedly delivered the narcotics to a customer on at least one occasion, authorities said. Stephen Dgewell Martin, 30, of Anaheim, allegedly took the dope disguised as Aztec calendars and statues to the post office in garden Grove. And Gary Wayne Minter, 55, of Victorville, was the guy who allegedly provided the stash house.

If convicted, the supects face a mandatory minimum sentence of at least five years in federal prison, but they potentially could be sentenced to decades in prison. They are being prosecuted out of the U.S. Central District’s Santa Ana Branch Office.

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