3 New Suspects Arraigned in Cocaine Distribution Ring
Three additional suspects were arraigned on drug charges in Los Angeles federal court Friday in a continuing investigation of a major Southern California cocaine distribution network that has resulted in the seizure of $55-million worth of the drug.
Fabio Pazcualli, 27, Haroutioren Hovaness Bekarian, 27 and Danilo Buchelly-Marquez, 26, all of Hacienda Heights, were charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine and distribution of cocaine, the same charges filed earlier in the week against four other suspects, Assistant U.S. Atty. R. Crosson Andersen said.
Information provided by a confidential informant led to the latest arrests and drug seizure, according to a sworn affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Lee C. Rasmussen in conjunction with the criminal complaint.
In addition, according to Rasmussen, the informant related a Feb. 5 conversation in which Buchelly-Marquez displayed a .32-caliber handgun and “declared that he intended to kill one Silvio Gonzalez,” who allegedly owed Buchelly-Marquez more than $80,000 for failing to pay for the purchase of cocaine on consignment.
Bekarian agreed to kill Gonzalez for $5,000, according to the informant quoted in Rasmussen’s affidavit.
“This is not the first instance in which a narcotics organization has solicited the murder of a debtor to the organization,” Andersen said. “It’s happening with increasing frequency.”
Andersen declined to further identify Gonzalez, but added that “I believe murder was not committed.”
Both Pazcualli, a Colombian national, and Bekarian, an Armenian, are believed to be in the country legally, Andersen said. The other five suspects are believed to be South Americans, who have illegally entered the United States, he said.
Narcotics investigators acting on a search warrant also seized 40 pounds of cocaine at a Hacienda Heights residence Thursday to add to about 400 pounds of the drug seized two days earlier at an El Toro residence, FBI spokesman Fred Reagan said.
As an outgrowth of the earlier raid, a fugitive warrant was issued for Pazcualli, Reagan said. Authorities already had confiscated $2 million in cash and assorted guns in the raids Tuesday night and Wednesday morning at locations in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
Arrested in the earlier raids were Mario Alfredo Lopez-Martinez, 28, of El Toro; Jose Eugenio Ramirez, 44, of Laguna Hills, and George Barrera, 27, and Gilberto Valencia, 28, both of Hacienda Heights.
This week’s arrests involved agents of the FBI, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles and Simi Valley police departments.
“This is the offshoot of an investigation the DEA, LAPD and (Simi Valley Police) have been involved in for almost three years,” Simi Valley Police Sgt. Fred James said.