FRESNO, Calif. - A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment today charging Jose Trinidad Salas, 43, of McFarland, with conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and being a person in the United States unlawfully in possession of a firearm, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
The indictment alleges that between January 2010 and February 26, 2014, Salas and others conspired to distribute methamphetamine and other drugs. Court documents allege that pound quantities of methamphetamine were seized in New Mexico and Southern California from associates of Salas that are believed to have been destined for Mississippi. The indictment further alleges that Salas possessed firearms while being a prohibited person. Salas is alleged to have a felony conviction for a drug offense and also to be in the United States unlawfully.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Kern County Sheriff’s Department, and the Bakersfield Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Laurel J. Montoya is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Salas faces a statutory penalty of 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine for the drug conspiracy and up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the weapons charges. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.