Dozens arrested in North County drug sweep

Drug TraffickingRobert HarrisBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

SAN DIEGO - A six-month undercover investigation into North County drug-dealing culminated Tuesday with the arrests of 34 suspects, most of them Fallbrook residents, authorities said.

"Operation Cruel Summer'' netted 100 pounds of illegal drugs, including cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine, 38 guns and about $166,000 in cash, San Diego County sheriff's deputies said.

The following, all Fallbrook residents were arrested: Eduardo Artiega, 23; Richard Banks, 46; Joshua Belleville, 21; Nathan Belleville, 29; Jesse Bolding, 22; Kent Bowling, 65; James Bruno, 25; Raul Escabedo, 23; Daniel Fore, 44; Mark Fountain, 50; Juan Gonzales, 45; Channing Halkias, 38; Robert Harris, 50; Cesar Hernandez, 36; Ronald Lindsey, 27; Carlos Lupercio, 28; Daniel Lupercio, 26; Ariel Mclean, 21; Isidro Monje, 58; Michael Ochoa, 39; Oscar Prather, 43; Gustavo Rios, 38; Eduardo Santacruz, 29; Jessie Sims, 50; Joseph Sims, 32; Maria Vargas, 21; Cynthia Vasquez, 44; Brok Wood, 21; Stephen Wyman, 32; Justin Youssi, 21; and Jose Zamudio, 44.

Arrested in Oceanside were 22-year-old Bethany Costa of Vista and Gerald Rowe, 21, of Oceanside. The name of a juvenile arrested was not made public.

Authorities said a dozen others were taken into custody earlier in the operation, but their names were not immediately available.

A task force made up of 246 sheriff's deputies and federal agents served 38 arrest warrants and eight search warrants in Fallbrook, Bonsall, Rainbow, Oceanside and San Bernardino County between 6 a.m. and noon.

Police said residents complained of drug dealing and, starting in March, police in plainclothes started rooting them out, making more than 50 buys of drugs and firearms, officials said.

All those arrested are expected to face federal charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and could be charged with crimes in state court.  The suspects are expected to appear in a Vista courtroom Wednesday afternoon.

Participating in the raid were agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Marshals Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Internal Revenue Service, Border Patrol, U.S. Attorney's Office; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. At the state and local level, participants included agents with the county parole and probation departments and; District Attorney's Office.

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