Receive alerts from your local agencies
...or text your ZIP CODE to 888777 for mobile alerts

Full Notification

Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Friday September 20th, 2019 :: 02:34 p.m. PDT

Community

Multiagency Coordinated Cocaine Seizures

Nature of Incident: Multiagency Coordinated Cocaine Seizures

Report Number: N/A

Location: Port of Hueneme, Port Hueneme, Ca
 

Date & Time: Various dates/times

Unit(s) Responsible: U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Resident Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit

 
 

(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent, City of Residence, Age

N/A 

Narrative:
Since 2013, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO) has been the recipient of federal grant funds from a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Border Protection) as part of a program called Operation Stonegarden (OPSG).  The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office uses the grant funding to cover overtime and equipment for OPSG related operations that relate specifically to intercepting Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) from smuggling narcotics into the United States. OPSG operations are worked jointly with Local U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.
 
Since January 2019, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office personnel, including the Sheriff’s K9 Unit, has participated in numerous OPSG operations taking place at the Port of Hueneme.  The Port of Hueneme is the only deep water port between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area.  The Port routinely services shipping companies from across the world and handles more than $9 billion in cargo annually.  Recently, OPSG operations have targeted large shipping vessels importing produce from South America.  The produce is offloaded at the Port of Hueneme then distributed throughout the United States.  Unfortunately, DTOs have recognized the Port of Hueneme as a viable narcotics smuggling route and now routinely secrete large quantities of narcotics into produce shipping containers.    
 
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and their counterparts continue to diligently follow up on information related to narcotics smuggling at the Port of Hueneme and conduct extensive searches of shipping vessels.  Because of their size, Vessel searches are extremely difficult and often involve large numbers of law enforcement officer searching over several days.  OPSG funds allow collaborative efforts between federal and local agencies and have led to several recent large seizures of narcotics including:
 
January 22, 2019- 92.6 kilograms (204 pounds) of cocaine seized
January 28, 2019- 7.96 kilograms (17.41 pounds) of cocaine seized
April 22, 2019- 37.32 kilograms (82.27 pounds) of cocaine seized 
July 1, 2019- 23.66 kilograms (52.16 pounds) of cocaine sized
 
The recent seizures of cocaine at the Port of Hueneme has an estimated street value between $9,000,000 and $16,000,000 million dollars.  The estimated street value of the seized narcotics will fluctuate depending on its geographic destination within the United States.    
 
On August 18, 2019, employees at three different Safeway stores in Washington State found a total of 150 pounds of cocaine concealed inside banana boxes.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents have linked that produce and cocaine directly to the Port of Hueneme. 
 
The grant money obtained from the Department of Homeland Security was approved by the Board of Supervisors and is managed by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit.  The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office is committed to continue to provide resources to our federal counterparts with U.S. Customs and Border Protection in order to aggressively combat narcotics trafficking affecting Ventura County.      

Prepared by: Detective Sergeant Eduardo Malagon 

News Release Date: 9/19/2019
 
Media Follow-Up Contact:

Detective Sergeant Eduardo Malagon
805-383-8715 Eduardo.malagon@ventura.org
 
Jeff Stephenson, Supervisory Border Patrol Agent
U.S. Border Patrol/San Diego Sector
Information & Communication Division
619-216-4182, Jeffery.R.Stephenson@cbp.dhs.gov 

Approved by:  Captain Bill Schierman
Booking Photo Release:   
 
###
 

Address/Location
Ventura County Sheriff's Office
800 S Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93009

Contact
Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 805-654-9511

Navigate & Discover