A Kings County Sheriff’s Office narcotics task force busted a heroin ring after nearly a year of wiretapping, surveillance and undercover buys, the Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.
Seven people were arrested on charges of possession and sale of heroin, conspiracy and criminal profiteering.
Three pounds of heroin worth $109,200, a pound of methamphetamine, $35,000 in cash, three guns and four vehicles were seized, and officers from eight entities put in about 4,500 hours, the Sheriff’s Office said.
In October 2015, the Kings County Narcotics Task Force got a tip that Robert Huerta of Hanford was a major source of heroin in Hanford and the county.
$109,200Value of 3 pounds of heroin seized
Detectives soon linked him to Frank “Joe” Reyes of Hanford, and learned through surveillance that Louis “Nate” Vasquez was selling heroin for them.
In January, cellphone records showed the three were in constant contact. In February, undercover officers bought heroin from Huerta.
In March, Huerta and Reyes were seen on video selling heroin, and a few months later undercover officers bought heroin from Reyes.
Wiretaps in July showed that Huerta and Reyes were selling heroin daily, authorities said.
Jose Refugio Flores, who worked at an auto repair shop in Hanford, was identified as Reyes’ supplier.
In early August, officers learned that Flores was getting heroin from his suppliers in Fresno and Los Angeles counties. Heroin, meth and a stolen handgun were seized in southern Fresno County, where Ubaldo Lopez was arrested.
A week later, Flores ordered more heroin from the Los Angeles area and arranged to meet Edgar Lopez-Hernandez in Bakersfield on Aug. 25.
Flores was pulled over and found with 1.5 pounds of heroin, while Lopez-Hernandez and his passenger, Ivan Valenzuela, were stopped with $19,224 in the trunk of their car.
In Hanford, authorities searched three homes and found cash, handguns, bullets and heroin.
The law enforcement agencies involved in the bust include Hanford, Lemoore and Corcoran police, the Kings County Sheriff’s Office, probation department, state Department of Justice, the Central Valley High Intensity Drug Task Force and the Kings County Gang Task Force.