Members of a family accused of dealing large quantities of methamphetamine and other drugs on the Central Coast were arrested Tuesday in a pre-dawn operation, federal authorities said.
The FBI says the Rocha family was responsible for trafficking highly potent and pure narcotics in Santa Maria and surrounding communities, including near Mesa Middle School in Arroyo Grande.
According to a federal indictment filed in U.S. District Court, the operation was led by 52-year-old Jose Alfredo Rocha Sr., his 49-year-old wife, Irene, and two sons, Tony Perfecto Rocha, 23, and Jose Alfredo Rocha Jr., 24. They were arrested Tuesday.
Nine others were named in the indictment and eight were arrested. The ninth, 36-year-old Nipomo resident Victor Speedy Gonzales, was being sought by law enforcement.
Authorities arrested Anna Rosa Rocha, 28; Jim Elkins, 59; Emil Brieg IV, 19; Kyle Joseph Edelen, 31; Frank Eugene Martinez, 26; Peter Bernard Salinas, 55; Chase Ross Twomey, 26; and Maria Ynez Flores, 19.
The Rocha family and several others are charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine, according to the court documents.
Authorities believe the family started operating in the winter of 2013, when the Rocha patriarch and matriarch began coordinating the drug operations for distribution to dealers in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, according the indictment. They acquired and stored the drugs before giving their supplies to dealers, authorities say.
Their sons, along with Flores, gave drugs to six other defendants, who would sell smaller quantities to customers, according to court documents. Tony Rocha collected the proceeds from drugs sales, authorities said.
Informants working with law enforcement met with the Rochas several times to buy drugs and make payments toward their debts for past purchases, according to the indictment.
The family allegedly used coded language during telephone conversations and text messages about their drug activities.
Authorities say Anna Rosa Rocha also falsified a loan application for vehicles, one of which was used in the family's drug operation.