California residents might be surprised to learn that a federal judge recently sentenced former "American Idol" contestant Antonella Barba to 45 months in prison for the possession and distribution of opioids. The 32-year-old New Jersey native appeared on the series in 2007.
On Nov. 19, California state law enforcement took 50 people into custody who were allegedly connected to the Nortenos street gang. The investigation started in August. Alleged gang members were said to have been involved in possessing and selling firearms, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery, conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder.
Two men, age 19 and 25, remain jailed in Tulare County Jail after police in Visalia captured them for reportedly attempting to walk away from a traffic stop. A sergeant from the police department said that an officer stopped their vehicle near the intersection of Houston Avenue and Turner Street for a code violation. Officers caught up to the men eventually and arrested them.
In mid-October, Southern California authorities announced the seizure of 18 pounds of the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl. Investigators say the amount was sufficient to create 4 million deadly doses of the drug and has an estimated street value of $1.25 million.
On Oct. 7, California authorities arrested 12 people during a drug raid in Ceres. The incident occurred at around 7 a.m.
Prosecutors in California say that a 35-year-old man taken into custody following a traffic stop during the early morning hours of Aug. 31 was a leading figure in a narcotics trafficking organization that distributed methamphetamine throughout Humboldt County. The man is being held without bond at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility pending a court hearing that will examine the legitimacy of the funds proffered to pay his bail. He has been charged with possessing and transporting illegal drugs.
Deputies from the Lake Elsinore police department in Southern California arrested two residents on drug charges after neighbors complained of suspected narcotics activity. According to a statement from the police, the deputies conducted a search of the residence and found methamphetamine, packaging, digital scale and other items often associated with the sale of narcotics. The evidence might lead to a conviction for the distribution of narcotics.
A 48-year-old California man suspected of distributing drugs in Ventura County was taken into custody on Aug. 14 by deputies from the Ventura County Sheriff's Office Narcotics Unit. The Los Angeles County resident has been charged with felony counts of conspiracy, marijuana possession, cocaine possession and possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute. He is being held at the Ventura County Pre-trial Detention Facility, and his bail has been set at $300,000.
The recreational use of marijuana is now legal in California, but criminal organizations in the state still cultivate large amounts of the drug. One such operation was raided on July 31 in Plumas County. During the operation, one man was taken into custody and approximately 11,000 marijuana plants were destroyed. A Plumas County Sheriff's Office representative said the facility bore all the hallmarks of a large-scale narcotics operation run by a Mexican drug cartel.
On July 21, California authorities arrested two people on a variety of charges, including drug possession, after they were accused of shoplifting at a retail store. The incident took place in Vacaville.