3 arrested in Santa Rosa meth bust

March 13, 2008 1:45:50 PM PDT
Three Santa Rosa residents were among eight people who were arrested Wednesday in connection with an alleged drug distribution ring in Santa Rosa and a methamphetamine lab in Winton in Merced County.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown said the arrests capped a three-month investigation by the California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement into the drug trafficking ring that originated in Santa Rosa.

Investigators began tracking the Santa Rosa suspects in January and linked their operation to the five people who were arrested in Winton, Brown said.

The Santa Rosa suspects who were arrested are Martin Villanueva-Jacobo, 43; Maria Lopez, 33; and 38-year-old Feliz Lopez-Nunez.

California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement Special Agent in Charge John George said search warrants were served at 1651 Kerry Lane, 1200 Stony Point Road, 1600 Keoke Court, and 2909 Comanche St. Most of the drugs and weapons were found at 1651 Kerry Lane, George said.

The Santa Rosa suspects were arrested for possession of methamphetamine, marijuana and cocaine for sale and possession of a controlled substance and a firearm. They were booked into the Sonoma County Jail where they are expected to remain until their arraignment in Sonoma County Superior Court, George said.

Brown said narcotics agents shut down a clandestine lab in Winton on Wednesday where powdered methamphetamine was being converted to ice, a potent, smokeable form of the drug.

Forty state, local and federal agents assisted the California Department of Justice in serving the search warrants and making the arrests, Brown said.

Investigators seized 26.9 pounds of ice and methamphetamine, 69.8 pounds of marijuana, 73.4 grams of hashish, 53.8 grams of cocaine, five handguns, four rifles, and $45,995, Brown said. The street value of the drugs exceeds $500,000, he said.

The Napa Special Investigations Bureau, Sonoma County Sheriff's Department and Santa Rosa, Cotati and Petaluma police assisted the investigation, Brown said.