California Trampoline: Double Heroin Bust with “Suspects” Set Free over COVID Fears

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Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: HCDTF / krcrtv/ kmudnews

                                 Angelica Maria Vega of Fortuna, California, 40 years of age

Benbow, Calif:  Humboldt County law enforcement officials seized more than eight and one half pounds of heroin in Southern Humboldt Monday, according to the Humboldt County Drug Task Force and $4000 in cash, arresting 4 in the process, one woman and three men; all part of the California Trampoline.

HCDTF agents said they were investigating 40-year-old Angelica Maria Vega of Fortuna after getting a tip that she was going to meet members of a drug trafficking organization based out of Southern California and Mexico. Agents had already seized several pounds of heroin from this particular organization over the past several months, the HCDTF said.

On July 13, agents watched Vega meet with three members of the drug trafficking organization near the Benbow Inn, according to the HCDTF. After a brief interaction, Vega drove away northbound on Highway 101, and agents pulled her over near the Miranda and Maple Hills exit.

Agents said they could see narcotics in plain sight, and Vega was on probation, so they searched the vehicle. There, they found 2.5 pounds of suspected heroin packaged for sales, according to the HCDTF.

This is a press release from the Humboldt County Drug Task Force. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:
On July 13th, 2020, at approximately 4:50 p.m., special agents with the Humboldt County Drug Task Force (HCDTF), with the assistance from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), conducted two traffic stops in the Southern Humboldt area. Through their investigation, agents received information that local resident, Angelica Maria Vega, (age 40 from Fortuna, California) was going to meet unknown subjects from a Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) based out of Southern California and Mexico. HCDTF has been investigating this DTO for several months and seized multiple pounds of heroin from this organization.
Agents watched Vega meet with the DTO associates near the Benbow Inn. After a brief interaction, Vega proceeded northbound on Highway 101 where agents continued to follow her. Eventually, HCDTF agents conducted a traffic stop on Vega near the Miranda/Maple Hills exit. Pursuant to Vega’s probation terms, and from observations of narcotics seen in plain view, agents searched Vega’s vehicle. Agents located approximately 2.5 pounds of suspected heroin packaged for sales. Vega was subsequently placed under arrest and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for transportation of controlled substances.
Shortly after Vega left the Benbow area, HCSO patrol deputies contacted the DTO subjects in the Benbow State Park day use area. The newly hired HCDTF narcotics detection K-9, “Bodhi”, was deployed and alerted to the presence of narcotics within one of the vehicles. An additional 6 pounds of suspected heroin was located in Benbow as well as approximately $4,000 in U.S. currency. This currency is believed to be profits from narcotics sales and was seized pending future asset forfeiture proceedings.
Upon police contact, the DTO subjects were identified as Guillermo Padilla (age 21 from Coachella, California) Kaina Galdamez (age 24 from Indio, California) and Edgar Melgar-Zamora (age 27 from Sinaloa, Mexico). All three subjects were cooperative and explained to agents they had just travelled from Southern California to deliver narcotics. (no photos available)
For officer and community safety concerns regarding COVID-19, agents elected to release these subjects and will forward their report to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
Interesting Backstory: 
                                    Rafaela Castillo-Ramirez, age 41 from Sinaloa, Mexico
The following is a press release from the Humboldt County Drug Task Force: On May 12th, 2020, special agents with the Humboldt County Drug Task Force (HCDTF), with the assistance from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, conducted a traffic stop on Maple Hills Road just off Highway 101, Miranda. Agents had obtained a search warrant for a vehicle being driven by Rafaela Castillo-Ramirez (age 41 from Sinaloa, Mexico). Through their multi-week investigation, agents learned that Castillo-Ramirez is employed by a Drug Trafficking Organization operating out of Bakersfield, California.
Anyone with information related to this investigation or other narcotics related crimes are encouraged to call the Humboldt County Drug Task Force at 707-267-9976 or the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at 707-268-2539. This is only one of MANY searches and seizures along the Highway 101 pipeline of hard narcotics heading north from Mexican DTOs, esp heroin and crystal meth, while mucho local mota flows south to the SF Bay Area and LA, Ca.
Brand New: Meet Bodhi
Bodhi is the new K9 assigned to the Humboldt County Drug Task Force and recently detected 6 pounds of heroin in a recent Southern Humboldt bust.
“The Eureka Police Department is pleased to introduce K9 Bodhi, a two-year-old Labrador Retriever. Bodhi is trained to detect narcotics (heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine) firearms, and ammunition.
Bodhi is assigned to the multi-agency Humboldt County Drug Task Force (HCDTF) to combat sales, manufacturing, and distribution of illegal drugs in Humboldt County.
Bodhi’s handler is a Eureka Police Officer currently assigned as a Special Agent with the HCDTF. 
Bodhi and his handler will be reassigned to the Eureka Police Department once their HCDTF rotation has ended.
Bodhi has already had a successful deployment with the HCDTF, alerting to 6 pounds of heroin during an investigation on July 13, 2020. The Eureka Police Department is proud of their participation and partnership with the HCDTF and anticipates many more successful deployments for Bodhi.”

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