In March of 2013 the Fresno Methamphetamine Task Force (FMTF) initiated an investigation into several individuals who were suspected of trafficking large quantities of crystal methamphetamine “Ice” in the Fresno area. During the investigation FMTF determined that these suspects were associated to a much larger Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) who had ties to individuals in Southern California and Mexico.
The investigation further revealed that individuals in Mexico were responsible for coordinating the movement and sales of the methamphetamine once in the United States. As the investigation progressed FMTF determined that the DTO was not only smuggling and selling Ice but also involved in the clandestine conversion of Ice from a liquid form.
This morning (10/2/2013) FMTF served 4 search warrants in the Fresno/Clovis areas. During the service of the search warrants an operational Ice Conversion Lab was located at 5943 W. Birch Fresno. FMTF clandestine lab investigators estimate that this lab is capable of producing over 100 lbs of Ice per week which has a monthly street value in excess of 1.5 Million dollars. It should also be noted that the danger associated to this type of conversion lab is extremely high to not only the occupants but also innocent neighbors. The chemicals utilized in this lab are consistent with the lab explosion and fire that demolished a Fresno residence in October of 2012. During the investigation FMTF has seized a fully operational ice conversion lab, over 100 lbs of methamphetamine ice, several handguns and illegal assault weapons, and arrested 13 individuals associated to the DTO.
During the investigation FMTF has seized a fully operational ice conversion lab, over 100 lbs of methamphetamine ice, several handguns and illegal assault weapons, and arrested 13 individuals associated to the DTO. Currently in-custody are Manuel Maciel, 28, Edgar Cornejo, 24, Carlos Pedraza-Cornejo, 20, Juan Prado, 34, Orlando Delfin Lara, 21, Laura Taylor, 36, Jeremy Berg, 40, James Farnham, 37. The Fresno Methamphetamine Task Force is an initiative supported by the Central Valley California High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). This program combines federal, state and local resources to combat the illicit manufacturing of methamphetamine and the distribution and sales of all dangerous/illegal drugs. Agencies participating in FMTF are the California Department of Justice (Bureau of Investigation), Fresno Sheriff’s Office, United States Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Fresno Police Department, United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), California Highway Patrol, Clovis Police Department, and the California National Guard.
Deputy Chris Curtice
Public Information Officer