Moorpark police arrested 14 gang members and seized a large cache of drugs, guns and cash last week as a year-long investigation into a prison-based drug ring ended with a 10-location bust, officials said.
The alleged leader of the criminal organization, 34-year-old Edwin Mora, is already behind bars in Calipatria State Prison, according to Moorpark police Sgt. Kevin Lynch. He is expected to be arrested in connection with the new case in short order.
The investigation began in late-2017 when police learned of the ring operating in and around Moorpark, Lynch said.
“It was determined the trafficking of narcotics was being organized and directed by Edwin Mora from a California prison,” Lynch said in a written statement. “Mora was organizing shipments of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin into Ventura County from prison. The narcotics were then sold by gang members in smaller quantities to street-level dealers and narcotics users.”
The investigation culminated on Thursday, when officers carried out 10 search warrants in Moorpark, Simi Valley, Saticoy and Calipatria State Prison, officials said.
Fourteen gang members were arrested on suspicion of drug- and gun-related crimes, and investigators seized heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, handguns, ammunition and cash, police said.
The suspects arrested Thursday wereRicardo Ruiz, 23, of Moorpark; Oscar Bautista, 27, of Simi Valley; Gabriel Garcia, 27, of Moorpark; Maxine Rodriguez, 51, of Simi Valley; Alana Mora, 37, of Simi Valley; Nicholas Lerma, 21, of Moorpark; Rogelio Camacho, 27, of Saticoy; Adam Valdez, 43, of Santa Maria; Ilse Mena, 24, of Santa Maria; Alejandro Garcia, 42, of Santa Paula; Fernando Martinez, 25, of Simi Valley; Alberto Angeles, 29, of Moorpark; Nestor Cardenas, 32, of Moorpark; and Anthony Alarcon, 28, of Oxnard, police said.
Investigators aren’t finished yet, Lynch added.
“The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are anticipated,” he said.