Drug Task Force Seizes 9 Pounds of Heroin

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Heroin and cash seized by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force on Sunday. - SUBMITTED
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  • Heroin and cash seized by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force on Sunday.
The Humboldt County Drug Task Force announced this afternoon that it has arrested three Mexican nationals in what it believes to be the largest heroin seizure in recent county history.

In the culmination of a year-long investigation, agents arrested Carlos Sanchez-Gallego, 63, of Mexicali, Mexico, after a search of his vehicle in Eureka discovered nearly 9 pounds of heroin packaged for sales in a false compartment yesterday evening. The heroin has a reported street value of more than $250,000, according to a press release.

Also yesterday, agents arrested Jose Ochoa-Ayon, 40, and Gilberto Castillo-Garcia, 29, both of Sinaloa, Mexico. Subsequent searches reportedly found another 2 ounces of heroin and $35,000 in cash that agents suspect is the proceeds of illegal drug sales and was subsequently seized.

The suspects were booked into Humboldt County jail, where they are each being held on $500,000. See the full Humboldt County Drug Task Force press release copied below.

MEDIA RELEASE


After a year-long investigation, the Humboldt County Drug Task Force (HCDTF) arrests three subjects for heroin distribution. This is believed to be Humboldt County’s largest heroin seizure in recent history.

On October 28, 2018, Special Agents with the HCDTF, with the assistance of a narcotic detection K9 with the District Attorney’s Office, served multiple search warrants in Eureka.

At approximately 5:45 p.m., agents contacted Carlos Sanchez-Gallego (age 63 from Mexicali, Mexico) in his vehicle in the 800 block of West Harris Street, Eureka. Sanchez-Gallego was detained without incident and a search warrant for his vehicle was obtained. Upon serving the search warrant agents located nearly 9 pounds of heroin packaged for sales in a false compartment. This heroin has an estimated street value of approximately $270,000.

Gallego’s associate, Jose Ochoa-Ayon (age 40 from Sinaloa, Mexico), was also spotted driving a vehicle in the same area. Agents attempted to contact Ochoa-Ayon but he fled at a high rate of speed. Ochoa-Ayon drove in a reckless manner and at one point drove the wrong direction on Henderson Street. For public safety concerns agents did not pursue Ochoa-Ayon. A short time later, agents located Ochoa-Ayon’s vehicle parked in a nearby neighborhood. Ochoa-Ayon abandoned his vehicle and was subsequently located and detained by agents.

An additional associate, Gilberto Castello-Garcia (age 29 from Sinaloa, Mexico), was also contacted near his residence located in the 500 block of West Harris Street, Eureka. Castello-Garcia was detained without incident and a search warrant for his residence and vehicles was obtained. During the service of these search warrants, approximately 2 ounces of heroin packaged for sales was seized. Castello-Garcia was also in possession of a false compartment that contained nearly $35,000 in U.S. currency. This currency is believed to be the proceeds of illegal narcotics sales and will be held pending asset forfeiture proceedings.

All three subjects were placed under arrest and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on the following charges:

Sanchez-Gallego

• H&S 11351 – Possession of a controlled substance for sales
• H&S 11379(b) – Transportation of a controlled substance from one county to another noncontiguous county
• H&S 11352(a) - Transportation of a controlled substance
• H&S 11366.8(a) – Fabrication of a false compartment within a vehicle
• VC 12500(a) – Driving unlicensed
• PC 182 Criminal conspiracy to distribute heroin

Castello-Garcia
• H&S 11351 – Possession of a controlled substance for sales
• H&S 11352 – Transportation of a controlled substance
• H&S 11366.8(a) – Fabrication of a false compartment within a vehicle
• PC 182 Criminal conspiracy to distribute heroin

Ochoa-Ayon

• Same as above with an additional VC 23103 charge (reckless driving)

The bail for all three subjects was set at $500,000. Anyone with information related to this investigation or other narcotics related crimes are encouraged to call the Humboldt County Drug Task Force at 707-444-8095 or the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at 707-268-2539.

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