9 Arrested by Feds for Trying to Ship Meth in Aztec Statues

October 16, 2018 - 2:23 pm
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SANTA ANA (CNS) - Six Orange County residents were among eight people arrested today by federal authorities for allegedly conspiring to ship methamphetamine to Hawaii, including some drugs that were disguised as decorative Aztec calendars and statues.

The eight people arrested were among nine named in a federal indictment. The ninth defendant was already in custody on an unrelated case, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Federal authorities contend the group made at least three shipments of drugs to Hawaii over the past year, but all were intercepted by law enforcement. The group tried to send one package with two pounds of meth to Hawaii, and another with nearly five pounds, prosecutors said.

On July 17, the group allegedly tried to ship 11.7 kilograms of meth to Hawaii from a Garden Grove post office as part of a nearly 90-pound shipment that included drug-laden Mexican decorative items, including replicas of a 500- year-old Aztec calendar stone, according to federal prosecutors.

The defendants arrested Tuesday were:

-- Vaimanino Lee Pomele, 49, of Garden Grove;

-- Fernando Caballero Rascon, 42, of Garden Grove;

-- James Arnold Borbon, 58, of Garden Grove;

-- Moises Rey Avina, 39, of Santa Ana;

-- Alejandra Pomele, 44, of Garden Grove;

-- Stephen Dgewell Martin, 30, of Anaheim;

-- Felix Salgado, 28, of Perris; and

-- Gary Wayne Minter, 55, of Victorville.

Defendant German Bastidas Nunez, 46, of Moreno Valley, was already in custody.

All nine face possible sentences of at least five years in prison, ranging up to several decades behind bars, prosecutors said.

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