Comments Off on Two plead guilty to Meth charges in ‘Operation Garlic Press’ anti-gang effort

The first two defendants in what has been nicknamed “Operation Garlic Press” have entered guilty pleas to drug charges, which could land them maximum prison terms of 20 years apiece, according from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Miguel Gonzalez, 37, of Salinas, pleaded guilty to four counts of various methamphetamine charges and Adrian Gamino, 31, of Morgan Hill, pleaded guilty to three counts of various methamphetamine charges, prosecutors said. They are both in custody and are scheduled to be sentenced in March.

“Operation Garlic Press” kicked off in March 2010 with undercover Gilroy police, California Highway Patrol officers and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents targeting gang members and suspects of violent crimes, according to federal prosecutors.

Between the U.S. Attorney and the Santa Clara County District Attorney, 118 people were arrested during the operation, and 46 have been prosecuted federally. Authorities said 86 vehicles, 52 firearms and methamphetamine with a street value of more than $100,000 were seized.

In an October news conference, authorities said many of the suspects came from Norteno street gangs including the notorious Nuestra Familia gang.

Other agencies that helped with the operation are: the Salinas and Morgan Hill police departments; auto theft task forces from Monterey County, Santa Cruz County and Santa Clara County sheriff’s offices; the National Insurance Crime Bureau; the Western States Information Network; the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force; the United States Marshal’s Service; and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.


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