A lengthy investigation involving multiple agencies culminated with the arrests of 29 people — including a woman allegedly affiliated with the Mexican Mafia and a suspected Nazi sympathizer — on charges including drug trafficking, conspiracy and firearm offenses, authorities said.
More than 15,000 suspected fentanyl pills, 990 grams of fentanyl, 10 pounds of methamphetamine, 7 pounds of heroin, 112 pounds of marijuana, 13 guns and $60,000 in cash were seized during Thursday’s operation targeting criminal street gangs in Bakersfield, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California.
“It is precisely this kind of coordinated effort that allows us to most effectively protect our communities and hold gang members accountable,” U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert said in the release.
The Bakersfield Police Department, Kern County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations were involved, KTLA sister station KGET reports.
Drug buys monitored by law enforcement and wiretaps helped lead to the arrests following an 18-month investigation, according to court filings.
Bakersfield residents facing federal charges William Arthur Poush, 43; Rosa Fernandez, 43; Dale Vincent Perez, 39; Dale Wesley Hubbard, 49; Darlene Crystal Viera, 40; Manuel Yanes, 25; Jorge Luis Yanes, 28; Luis Mauricio Castenon, 33; David Garcia, 35; and Bryan Steven Reyes, 28. Also facing federal charges are Timothy Robert Hingston, 39, of North Hollywood, and Spender Matthew Hopper, 35, of Montrose.
Federal documents say a confidential informant reported Fernandez, who goes by “Madrina,” is affiliated with the Mexican Mafia and distributes drugs in the Bakersfield area. The informant said Fernandez is also affiliated with the East Side Bakers street gang.
Poush is a suspected member of the East Side Bakers who’s in business with Fernandez, according to court filings.
A wiretap helped federal agents identify Hingston, Hopper and Perez as co-conspirators, according to the filings. Authorities say Hingston is a suspected Nazi sympathizer and white supremacist who supplied drugs to Poush, Hopper delivered drugs from Los Angeles to Bakersfield and Perez is a Sureno gang member.
After an August arrest in which BPD seized drugs fronted by Hingston, Poush texted Hingston asking him to forgive the debt, according to the filings.
Hingston texted back that he has to pay “cartel people.”
“I don’t (expletive) around with cartel people and tell them I’m not gonna (expletive) pay,” Kingston wrote according to the filings. “That is suicidal!!!”
Another defendant, Reyes, is known as “Illuminati” and “is a Mexican Mafia prison gang-affiliated Varrio Bakers gang member who distributes narcotics and firearms,” the filings say. Luis Mauricio Castenon, called “Damage,” is affiliated with the Big Hazards Sureno street gang and is also suspected of being affiliated with the Mexican Mafia, authorities said.