Quick Take:

Among the 19 suspects charged is Jose Manuel Rodriguez Naranjo, who has ties to Watsonville. The Watsonville Police Department’s Special Response Team arrested him Wednesday after an FBI Drug Task Force requested their assistance,

Watsonville police and the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office each played a role in assisting with the federal investigation of an alleged scheme to funnel drugs into the San Jose area and firearms to Mexico, the U.S. attorney’s office in San Francisco announced Thursday.

Their role in “Operation Burnt Orange” helped result in one of the largest methamphetamine seizures ever in Northern California, authorities said, with the vast majority of those drugs coming from the notorious Sinaloa cartel in Mexico, U.S. Attorney David Anderson said.

Among the 19 suspects charged in the scheme is Jose Manuel Rodriguez Naranjo, who has ties to Watsonville, police said. Members of the Watsonville Police Department’s Special Response Team arrested him Wednesday after an FBI Drug Task Force requested their assistance, police said. The sheriff’s office and the Santa Cruz Police Department also assisted in the operation, which took place in the 1900 block of Freedom Blvd.

Rodriguez Naranjo, 39, jumped out of a window and attempted to escape but was quickly caught, police said. He was then turned over to federal authorities.

“Operation Burnt Orange,” authorities said, resulted in the seizure of 500 grams of fentanyl, 20 pounds of heroin, more than a dozen firearms, more than $200,000 in cash, and around 1,000 pounds of methamphetamine.

“One methamphetamine seizure outlined in this indictment represents the largest federal seizure of methamphetamine ever in the Northern District of California,” said U.S. Attorney Anderson. “The vast majority of these drugs were acquired in Mexico, including from Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel.”

Rodriguez Naranjo is facing charges of conspiracy to distribute and possess, with intent to distribute, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. He was not charged as part of the firearms trafficking operation but still faces life in prison if convicted.

To read the full U.S. attorney’s news release, click here. Here is the U.S. attorney’s description of the scheme in detail.

The superseding indictment, filed February 4, 2021, charges David Campoy as the leader of two related conspiracies: a drug trafficking conspiracy and a firearms trafficking conspiracy. With respect to the drug trafficking conspiracy, David Campoy, his adult son, Jose Melchor Campoy, and co-conspirators David Wilcott Greenman, Kimberly Carrasco, Lamberto (a Mexican national whose last name currently is unknown), Juan Carlos Velazquez Ortiz, Ignacio Espinoza, Jose Manuel Rodriguez Naranjo, and Nicolas Ardanuy are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. David Campoy allegedly used connections with the Cártel de Sinaloa (or Sinaloa Cartel) in Mexico as well as connections in Southern California to obtain methamphetamine and heroin. The indictment alleges David Campoy and Jose Campoy delivered controlled substances to other members of the drug trafficking organization for distribution. In addition to the conspiracy charge, several of the defendants face additional charges in connection with individual drug sales and use of a communication facility to assist in such sales.

The facts disclosed in the indictment and additional court documents depict a prolific drug distribution operation. The indictment describes a drug ledger in which drug purchase orders are recorded in quantities such as of hundreds of kilograms of methamphetamine, and payments are made in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition, during his arrest in January 2021 with his son and others, law enforcement seized approximately 572 pounds of methamphetamine, several pounds of heroin, and 16 firearms. In additional court filings the government argues that based on intercepts and intelligence obtained during the investigation, David Campoy, through the quantity he controlled and trafficked, exercised market power over the price and availability of methamphetamine in Northern California.

With respect to the firearms conspiracy, the indictment alleges David Campoy, Michael Ozuna Guizar, Roberto Campoy Robles, Luis Guillermo Sendino, and Ivan Campoy Morales orchestrated illegal exports to Mexico of weapons and components of firearms for sale in the black market. The defendants manufactured, exported, and dealt in weapons including assault weapons. The superseding indictment describes how defendants allegedly unlawfully purchased firearms and components of firearms in the United States through licensed federal firearm dealers. The defendants allegedly combined the firearms with grenade launchers assembled in Mexico, and attempted to obtain .50 caliber sniper rifles and grenade launchers for resale on the black market. . . .

The case is being prosecuted by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California. The investigation of this case was conducted by the DEA and the FBI San Francisco Division. Assistance was provided by FBI Los Angeles, Phoenix and Tuscon; LA IMPACT Group 1; California Highway Patrol; San Jose Police Department the police departments of Santa Clara, Watsonville, Vallejo; the Sheriff’s Offices of Santa Clara County and Santa Cruz County; and the U.S. Marshal Service.

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