Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Eight indicted in North Bay drug trafficking investigation

LAKE COUNTY – The U.S. Attorney General Office's said a drug trafficking investigation that took several years and covered the North Bay area – including Lake County – has resulted in eight indictments and several more arrests.

Eight Santa Rosa residents were indicted Feb. 6 as part of the investigation, Operation Emerald Web, which investigated methamphetamine and other drug trafficking, said U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan.

The charges against the defendants include conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and pseudoephedrine, distribution of methamphetamine, and maintaining a place for manufacturing, storing and distributing marijuana.

The indictment was unsealed Feb. 14 after the individuals were arrested by federal and state law enforcement officers.

Those indicted Feb. 6 were Domingo Tamayo Jr., 27; Javier Tamayo Jr., 31; Julio Palominos, 19; Jose Campos, 54; Richard Moreno, 28; Cristobol Tamayo, 18; Edward Souza, 49; and Carolina Palomares, 55.

Luke Macauley, a spokesman for the US Attorney's Office, said the Lake County Sheriff's Office assisted with arrests in the case and are involved with the ongoing investigation.

“As for impact on drug trafficking in Lake County, I can say that it has disrupted drug trafficking in the area,” said Macauley. “We’ve had large amounts of seizures that illustrate that disruption.”

Sheriff Rod Mitchell confirmed Friday at LCSO and the Lake County Narcotic Task Force were involved in Emerald Web.

Methamphetamine trafficking such as that investigated in Operation Emerald Web has had a severe impact on Lake County.

Laura Solis, administrator of Lake County's Alcohol and Other Drug Services (AODS) department and her treatment coordinator, Mark Messerer, said that methamphetamine is the No. 1 drug of choice among people who come to seek treatment at AODS.

Meth is the No. 1 drug in every county in the state, except two, San Francisco and Marin counties, said Messerer.

Ryan said the arrests are the latest action in an ongoing, multi-agency Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, one of the largest ever directed against narcotics trafficking in the North Bay.

In the past two years, the investigation resulted in numerous searches that yielded seizures including more than $600,000 in US currency; 35 pounds of methamphetamine; 4 pounds of pseudoephedrine; 3 pounds of cocaine; 5,000 Pounds of Marijuana; nearly 20,000 live marijuana plants; and at least 50 firearms, including at least 5 assault rifles.

The DEA estimates the street value of the seized drugs to be over $5 million.

The investigation, begun in late 2004, was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with substantial assistance from LCSO; the Sonoma County Narcotics Task Force; the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department; the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement; the Santa Rosa Police Department; the Petaluma Police Department; the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation; and the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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