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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Tuesday March 22nd, 2022 :: 05:58 p.m. PDT


News Story - Drug Trafficking Arrests

Nature of Incident: Seven Arrested for Drug Trafficking
Report Number: 22- 34309
Location: 5000 Block of Verdugo Way, Camarillo, California
3500 Block of Sesame Street, Bakersfield, California
Date & Time: March 16, 2022 @ 1615 Hours
Unit(s) Responsible: United States Drug Enforcement Administration, Ventura County Combined Agency Team, Ventura County Narcotics Street Team, Camarillo Patrol Services
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent

City of Residence

(S) Homero Lopez
(S) Manuel Martinez
(S) Apolinar Mena
(S) Francisco Placencia
(S) Antonio Santana
(S) Jesus Varela
(S) Jaime Lopez
The Ventura County Combined Agency Team (VCAT) and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Los Angeles Field Division- Ventura Field Office concluded a multiple month-long investigation of a major narcotic trafficking organization with the arrest of seven suspects and the seizure of a large amount of narcotics.
Detectives assigned to VCAT and Special Agents from the DEA conducted an investigation into Homero Diaz of Bakersfield. The investigation revealed that Diaz was responsible for trafficking methamphetamine and fraudulent prescription pills into Ventura County. The fraudulent prescription pills contain the deadly drug fentanyl and are pressed to look like prescription oxycodone pills.
On March 16, 2022, narcotics detectives and uniformed deputies assigned to the Camarillo Patrol Station, arrested Homero Diaz and six of his co-conspirators on federal charges of possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance. The arrests were made in Camarillo, where Diaz was coordinating a delivery of fentanyl and methamphetamine.  The other suspects arrested were Manuel Martinez of Ventura, Apolinar Mena of Compton, Francisco Placencia of Compton, Antonio DeJesus Santana of Riverside, Jesus Varela of Torrance, and Jaime Gomez Lopez of Compton. In conjunction with the arrests, federal and state officials seized approximately 50,000 fentanyl pills and 45 pounds of methamphetamine from the three cars the suspects had arrived in.
This amount of methamphetamine and fentanyl has an approximate street value of $230,000.
All seven suspects were booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles for Federal drug trafficking violations. They made their initial appearance in court on March 17, 2022.
The indictment contains allegations that each defendant had committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
VCAT is comprised of detectives from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and Special Agents from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. VCAT is responsible for the investigation and arrest of persons and organizations who are engaged in mid to top-level drug trafficking impacting the residents and businesses of the County of Ventura.  This Sheriff’s Office is proud of our ongoing collaboration with the DEA in our proven strategy to remove dangerous drugs from our community.
Prepared by: Sergeant Robert Davidson  
News Release Date: March 22, 2022  
Media Follow-Up Contact: Detective Christian Freede
(805) 383-8700
[email protected]
Approved by:
Booking Photo Release:
Captain Brian Slominski
YES     NO  
Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime.  The caller may remain anonymous.  The call is not recorded.  Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

Ventura County Sheriff's Office
800 S Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93003

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

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