Local News in Brief : Countywide : Narcotics Strike Force Arrests 3, Seizes Cash

Three Colombian nationals have been arrested and $1.4 million in cash seized in raids by members of a regional Orange County narcotics strike force, authorities said Wednesday.

Acting on information from informants, undercover officers searched two homes in Norwalk and arrested Matilde Marquez, 63, her son, Juan Jose Marquez, 43, and his wife, Alicia Marquez, 36.

All three were booked on suspicion of having cocaine for sale. The two women were released from the Los Angeles County jail on $100,000 bond each, while Juan Jose Marquez remained in custody with bail set at $1 million.

Capt. Tim Simon, head of the Orange County Regional Narcotics Suppression Program, said the Norwalk homes had been under surveillance for several days before a team of 11 undercover officers moved in for the arrests Tuesday afternoon.


Sgt. Alex Paulsen, a Santa Ana narcotics officer serving with the task force, said about $200,000 in small denominations was found bundled and packed in a cardboard box in the suspects’ car, while another $1.2 million in cash was recovered from one of the homes searched on Pioneer Boulevard in Norwalk.

Paulsen said about 4.5 pounds of cocaine and an AK-47 assault rifle also were confiscated in the raid.

Simon said the investigation is continuing, and that it could lead to more arrests in Orange County.