Feds allegedly find 20 pounds of meth
An undercover operation by the Drug Enforcement Administration led federal agents to a Richmond home.
RICHMOND >> An undercover operation by the Drug Enforcement Administration led federal agents to a Richmond home, where they allegedly conducted a raid that yielded 20 pounds of methamphetamine.
According to the DEA, the investigation started when a suspected middleman meth dealer unwittingly led agents to his supplier, a Richmond man named Juan Luis Contreras-Rodriguez, who allegedly goes by the nickname “El Diablo.”
Contreras-Rodriguez, along with Hector Estrada Cervantes, were charged Thursday with conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of meth, a federal offense that carries a minimum of five years in prison, and a maximum of 40 years, along with a maximum $5 million fine.
The complaint alleges that the investigation started when Cervantes allegedly contacted an undercover DEA agent out of the blue, and negotiated a onepound meth deal for $2,000.
During negotiations, Cervantes allegedly mentioned the meth would be delivered from Richmond. Cervantes then put his source on speakerphone, who identified himself to the undercover agent as “El Diablo.” Authorities later identified him as Contreras-Rodriguez, the complaint alleges.
After a subsequent twopound deal in San Jose, the undercover agent negotiated the sale of 40 pounds of meth for $70,000, the complaint says. The deals were allegedly supposed to occur on March 4 and March 5, for 20 pounds at a time.
On Wednesday, the undercover agent allegedly showed up at a business in El Cerrito to do the first deal, but Contreras-Rodriguez allegedly told him that he didn’t want to meet in a public place. Authorities conducted surveillance on Cervantes, who went to Contreras-Rodriguez’s home in Richmond, the complaint says.
Authorities subsequently arrested Contreras-Rodriguez and Cervantes, and searched the Richmond home. They uncovered roughly 20 pounds of meth, which had been concealed within a wet/dry vacuum, the complaint says.
Neither defendant entered a plea at their first court appearance Thursday. They are next due in court March 11 at 1:30 p.m., in San Jose, court records show.