Authorities take down Porterville-based meth trafficking group

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Authorities seized 155 pounds of methamphetamine and ten guns, after a nearly two-year investigation into what they call a large-scale drug trafficking organization out of Portervi

Authorities seized 155 pounds of methamphetamine and ten guns.

A federal indictment charging eleven people has been handed down.

It's the result of a nearly two-year investigation into what authorities call a large-scale drug trafficking organization out of Porterville.

"Nearly 155 pounds of methamphetamine among other drugs didn't make it to the Central Valley streets as a result of this case, making this community and others undoubtedly safer," said DEA Fresno Resident Agent in Charge, Chris Coleman.

It started in the spring of 2017, when Porterville Police began investigating a person suspected of selling meth.

But detectives quickly found evidence that pointed to a bigger operation. So that fall, the Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, agreed to a joint investigation with the department, with the goal of dismantling the organization.

"Over the next 15 months, there were several large meth seizures and other seizures related directly to this drug trafficking organization," said Porterville Police Chief Eric Kroutil. "And it ultimately led to the services of multiple search warrants and the issuances of federal and state arrest warrants for numerous individuals."

Kroutil says eight search warrants were served throughout Tulare County last month, and a majority of the suspects were taken into custody on federal arrest warrants that day.

A federal grand jury has indicted eleven people, all of them from Tulare County, on charges of conspiracy to engage in the distribution of meth, and some of them face additional charges.

One suspect is still outstanding, but authorities say they've accomplished their goal of dismantling the operation.

"Anytime there's a large scale drug trafficking organization that's putting drugs onto the streets of our communities, we are more than happy to partner with our local and state agencies to achieve these results, which can only be done when we work with one another," said Kim Sanchez, Chief of the Narcotics and Violent Crime Unit with the U.S. Attorney's Fresno Office.

The drugs, officials say, came from Southern California and beyond.

They add that more than 20 others face state charges for their roles in the operation.

Most of them have also been arrested.
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