Two men arrested at a Moreno Valley house where 18 pounds of methamphetamine worth $832,000 was reportedly found were arraigned Tuesday, Sept. 18, in Superior Court in Riverside.
Jesus Espinoza, 25, of San Diego, and Jose Manuel Guizar-Gaytan, 25, of Mexico, pleaded not guilty to two felony counts each of possession of methamphetamine for sale and possession of methamphetamine with a loaded firearm, and three felony counts each of possession of an assault weapon, possession of an assault rifle and possession of a sniper rifle, according to a news release from state Attorney General Kamala D. Harris.
Bail was set at $500,000 for each.
Authorities believe they are associates of La Familia cartel in Michoacan, Mexico, the release said.
“The fight against transnational gangs continues to be a priority for the California Department of Justice,” Harris wrote in the release. “These arrests are another example of the hard work and dedication of our agents in the continued effort to stop the trafficking of guns, drugs and human beings throughout our state.”
The Riverside County district attorney’s office will prosecute the case because the men were arrested in Moreno Valley. The investigation was conducted by the attorney general’s Inland Crackdown Allied Task Force.
On Friday, Sept. 14, task force agents received information that a Moreno Valley house contained methamphetamine and weapons.
The agents searched the house, two vehicles and a storage locker. In addition to the methamphetamine, they found four handguns, three assault rifles and a .50-caliber sniper rifle, the release said. Riverside County sheriff’s deputies assisted in the operation.
The task force includes the Beaumont, Corona, San Bernardino, Murrieta, Riverside and Calexico police departments; Riverside County Sheriff’s Department; state Department of Justice, state California Alcoholic Beverage Control, California Highway Patrol; and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations.
BY BRIAN ROKOS The Press Enterprise
Published: 18 September 2012 05:25 PM
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