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Ventura County Sheriff’s investigators help take down international crime ring

After a year-long investigation, multiple agencies including the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department has brought down an international organized crime ring involving drug trafficking.

Nearly 10-million dollars worth of drugs, cash, and weapons were seized. The Sheriff’s Office says this drug trafficking organization was moving large amounts of narcotics from a drug cartel in Sinaloa, Mexico then distributing the drugs to traffickers in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

“There were eight different search warrants during that year, one of those was actually in the city of Camarillo were there were six and a half pounds of fentanyl seized along with a large amount of methamphetamine,” said Ventura County Undersheriff Gary Pentis.

Among the drugs seized were about 285 pounds of methamphetamine, 121 pounds of cocaine, 6 pounds of fentanyl and 600 counterfeit oxycodone pills. This is the largest fentanyl investigation to date.

“Fentanyl is one of our priorities,” said Pentis. “It is a synthetic opioid that is really driving our overdose death rate in our country and in our county. These corrupt organizations are using fentanyl to beef up their drug product or make counterfeit drugs and you wonder why the death rate is going up.”

The investigation resulted in 15 arrests connected to the Sinaloa cartel, some of them high-ranking members. Among the 15 is a woman from Oxnard and a man from Simi Valley.

“I will tell you right now that this investigation is continuing and if you are trafficking for the Sinaloa cartel, come to Ventura County and we got a place in jail for you,” said Pentis.

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