Operation started by Tulare County deputies discovers drug trafficking ring

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The investigation into a triple murder at Golden West High School in Visalia led to phase two of what's been dubbed "Operation Trailblazer," which uncovered a nationwide drug trafficking ring.

"We are talking about an organization that is multimillion-dollar strong," says Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux. "It's supported by networking of known drug trafficking persona as well as they do counter-surveillance where they look for cops looking for them."

The Tulare County Sheriff's Office collaborated with the Los Angeles Police and Sheriff's departments, along with state and federal agencies.

TCSO detectives served 53 search warrants and seized nearly 15,000 marijuana plants, 773 pounds of processed marijuana, 53 firearms, $358,000 in cash and $300,000 in assets during the five-month investigation.

Five people were arrested.

The primary suspects are 30-year-olds Joe and Sirjoe Carmona -- both of Ivanhoe.

Officials say the brothers are involved with local gang members and were transporting and selling large amounts of marijuana in multiple states, including Florida, Texas, and New York.

"What would happen is they take the marijuana from Tulare County to Los Angeles," Boudreaux said. "They would meet at a certain location, take it to distribute across the country and into Mexico."

Boudreaux says one of the local suspects lived in a high-end Los Angeles apartment that was the site of one of the drug busts.

The crimes also involved air travel.

"We learned they are using commercial airlines to distribute as well as the ease of crossing the border," Boudreaux said. "The DOJ and FBI picked up many aspects of this case because of the trails that are leading into Mexico to a potential cartel."

The sheriff says investigations like this have a direct impact on public safety.

"Nothing good ever comes out of this for anyone who wants to make sure their kids are safe," he said. "We want the parks and roads to be safe because there is a lot of violence that surrounds these organizations."
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