Traffic Stop Turns into Drug Bust linked to Mexican Cartel

On January 23, Sheriff Mike Boudreaux participated in a news conference alongside U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott to announce that a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment against Saul Giovanni Solis Ontiveros, 24, of Pixley, and Eduardo Garcia, 20, of McFarland. They are charged with conspiring to distribute more than 160 pounds of methamphetamine and approximately 300 fentanyl pills.

Scott said that the drug bust was linked to Mexican cartels. The seizure shows, he said, how Mexican-based cartels are no longer manufacturing the drugs in Mexico and smuggling the bulky packages to the United States but are shipping the drugs in liquid form to evade border searches. It’s then processed in conversion labs in rural Tulare County.

In total, Detectives confiscated 175 pounds of crystal meth, 480 pounds of liquid meth, five pounds of marijuana, one gram of cocaine and 300 fentanyl pills. The total value of all the drugs recovered is $1,580,660.

Just after 6:45 p.m. on January 5, a TCSO Deputy made a traffic stop for a possible fix-it ticket in the 800 block of South Ash in Pixley for a car without a front license plate. The driver of the car pulled into the driveway of a nearby home.

The driver, 20-year-old Eduardo Garcia, and his passenger, 24-year-old Saul Ontiveros, got out of the car quickly and tried to go inside the home, but the Deputy stopped them and instructed them to wait outside. Garcia appeared to be impaired. So the Deputy asked the CHP for help with a field sobriety test, where it was determined that Garcia was, in fact, impaired.

Deputies then observed meth and equipment that may indicate the manufacture of meth. Detectives with the TCSO Narcotics Unit were called to the scene and a search of the car revealed more than 50 pounds of meth inside.

Detectives then served a warrant inside the home and found two working meth labs with about 113 pounds of crystal meth, 180 pounds of liquid meth, marijuana, about 300 fentanyl pills, ammunition and two guns.

Further investigation led Detectives to a home in the 15000 Block of Road 223 in Porterville. While serving a warrant at the home, Detectives found more marijuana, ammunition, about four pounds of crystal meth and the same meth lab equipment being used at the house in Pixley.

During the search of the Porterville home, Detectives were alerted to another home on the property, which was vacant. At the vacant house, Detectives found another working meth lab, with about 96 pounds of crystal meth and more than 70 gallons of liquid meth inside and outside the house.

If convicted, Ontiveros and Garcia face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine.

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