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Federal agents bust major drug ring
May 04, 2006, 12:00 AM By Dana Yates
Federal agents raided a San Mateo house yesterday and made several arrests as part of state-wide bust of a methamphetamine and cocaine traffic operation based in the Bay Area.

At about 6 a.m., agents raided the house near the corner of 39th Avenue and Martin Street in the San Mateo-Glendale Village. The raid was part of a multi-year investigation methamphetamine and cocaine ring across several states with ties to Mexico. Other arrests were made in San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Hawaii, said FBI spokeswoman LaRae Quy.

"We conducted a series of arrests and searches throughout the Bay Area and there were several in San Mateo,” Quy said.

The raids collected drugs and some firearms. The number of San Mateo arrests were unclear because agents were still detaining people as late as 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Quy said.

Parts of the investigation have been going on for several years and agencies later discovered the different cases were all related, Quy said.

San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force Sgt. Mark Weiss would not comment on the arrests, but Sheriff Don Horsley is expected to be at a press conference at the United States District Attorney’s Office in San Francisco today.

Nine of the 19 men being charged in the indictment appeared in San Francisco’s federal court Tuesday afternoon. All 19 men are accused of a count of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine. They are also accused of various counts of distributing the two drugs. The indictment alleges the ring distributed at least $2.5 million worth of narcotics.

Federal agents seized more than 50 kilograms of cocaine with a wholesale value of $675,000 and more than 38 pounds of methamphetamine with a wholesale value of $323,000 as well as $1.4 million in proceeds from the drug operation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Jiggers told Federal Judge Elizabeth Laporte yesterday.

Each count of conspiracy to distribute carries a penalty of between 10 years to a life in prison with a $4 million fine, according to the indictment.

The 19 men named in the indictment are: Rafael Ramirez, Stanley Pryor, Linin Bin Suleiman, Dennis Damasen, Rimoni Sailele, Kasi Pohahau, Cenon Polintan, Shawn Sanchez, Natali Cisneros, Sione Tuifua, Hiliaumeniueva Tokotaha, Jose Araiza, Jose Ayala, Marvin Castillo, Humberto Barraza, Jason Marx, Craig Hunger, Michael Jiminez and Luis Flores.

Wire reports contributed to this story.

Dana Yates can be reached by e-mail: dana@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106. What do you think of this story? Send a letter to the editor: letters@smdailyjournal.com.<

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