Sheriff Dismantles Large Heroin Delivery Service

Ventura County Sheriff – Incident Press Release

One of the most prolific narcotics related threats to the residents of Ventura County is the heroin delivery service. Since February 1, 2012, there have been at least 149 opioid overdoses in the city of Thousand Oaks. In that same time period there have been at least 1,819 opioid overdoses in Ventura County. The vast majority of those overdoses have been non-fatal events. These overdoses have been from both heroin and prescription opioids. (Source: Ventura County EMS Agency).

The drug trafficking organizations that sell heroin are structured to sell their drugs to as many customers possible, often times providing door-to-door service. The heroin delivery service is typically made up of several components: (1) a cell head, who is the highest ranking member of the Drug Trafficking Organization within the United States, and who will typically recruit and vet workers and arrange for deliveries of drugs and drug proceeds between Mexico and the United States; (2) dispatchers, who are responsible for coordinating customers’ incoming orders and dispatching drivers to deliver drugs to them; (3) stash house operators, who store and repackage drugs; (4) couriers, who are responsible for receiving incoming narcotics shipments and delivering proceeds to suppliers; (5) delivery drivers, who deliver narcotics to local customers; and, (6) the customer who either uses or resells a portion of their drugs to support their habit. Depending on the size and scope of the delivery service some of these roles may overlap or be further compartmentalized.

At the end of 2017, the Ventura County Narcotic’s Task Force, in partnership with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), arrested members of the “Manny’s” heroin delivery service. Detectives from Ventura County anticipated newer and smaller services would quickly form and replace the void left from the conclusion of that investigation.

Investigation:

In January 2018, deputies from the Directed Enforcement Unit from the Thousand Oaks Police Department learned of a delivery service operating under the name of “Art’s” or “Flaco’s.” The delivery service was purportedly delivering heroin multiple times a day to customers in the Ventura County cities of Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, and Simi Valley.

An investigation was immediately started which revealed Jose Zepeda, from Los Angeles, was the head of the delivery service. He also acted as full time dispatcher and part time delivery driver. Zepeda employed three delivery drivers, Ruben Correa, Eduardo Garcia, and Miguel Garcia. During the months of January, February, and the beginning of March 2018, while detectives were building the case, all three drivers were found to be delivering drugs to Ventura County. Law enforcement was able to observe some of the drug transactions and arrest Ventura County customers (See names of those arrested above under “Customers” and “Resellers”). Many of those arrested were using the drugs to feed their own addiction; some were reselling to support their habits. Several customers were stopped and arrested immediately after buying drugs from the delivery service. In other cases, search warrants were served at the customers’ homes where other narcotics and firearms were discovered.

In one investigation, Alexander Wisotsky was arrested on February 26, 2018, at his home in the 500 block of West Gainsborough Road, in Thousand Oaks, with heroin possessed for sale, cash from drug sales, and 10 firearms. Additionally, Detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department arrested Eduardo Garcia on January 12, 2018, in the city of Simi Valley after they witnessed him dealing heroin. Garcia possessed multiple baggies of suspected heroin, enough for about 750 individual doses. After that arrest, Ruben Correa and Miguel Garcia handled most of the drug deliveries.

On March 8, 2018, search warrants were served at Zepeda, Correa, and Miguel Garcia’s residences. Zepeda was arrested at his home in the 11500 block of Poema Place, Los Angeles. Over $75,000 in suspected drug proceeds were found in his residence. Correa was arrested at his residence in the 7600 block of Owensmouth Ave, Los Angeles. About 6 ounces of heroin, or 1500 doses, were found at his house. Miguel Garcia was arrested at his home, in the 17100 block of Roscoe Boulevard, Los Angeles. A similar amount of heroin was found there.

All individuals arrested have pending court dates and are facing varying sentences based on their level of involvement in the investigation.

Detectives from the Ventura County Narcotics Task Force will continue to aggressively target, disrupt, and dismantle heroin delivery services that operate within Ventura County or supply residents of Ventura County.

Statistics of Investigation:

  • Arrests: 30
  • Drugs Seized: Approximately one pound of heroin
  • Assets Seized: Approximately $80,000 and 3 vehicles
  • Guns seized: 10

The Thousand Oaks Directed Enforcement Unit consists of a Sergeant, two Senior Deputies and three Deputies. The Directed Enforcement Unit is tasked with aggressively identifying and arresting individuals involved in criminal activity in the City of Thousand Oaks.

Other units and officers throughout the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office also assisted in this investigation including the Classification Unit at both the Pre-Trial Detention Facility and Todd Road Jail, as well as the Moorpark Patrol station.

The California National Guard – Counterdrug Task Force provided substantial assistance in this case through investigative support and logistics.


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