Simi Valley police have been vague about their $94-million drug bust last week--the largest ever handled by Ventura County law enforcement agencies--because they expect more arrests, officials said.
“It’s an ongoing investigation. There are other people involved who were not present at the time of the arrests,” said Los Angeles Deputy Dist. Atty. Dan Feldstern, who is prosecuting the case.
Five Colombian nationals who were arrested last week are expected to be arraigned today in Los Angeles on charges of possession of cocaine, transporting and selling cocaine, and conspiracy to sell cocaine.
Authorities have declined to give details of their investigation, except to say that it started in Simi Valley and ended with drug seizures and arrests in Newhall and Chatsworth.
“We’ve got other things going and we don’t want to put out in the press exactly how we do this because then everyone will know, including the Colombians,” Simi Valley Police Sgt. Fred James said.
Last week’s bust began with police surveillance of individuals in Simi Valley, Feldstern said. It culminated with the seizure of more than a ton of cocaine in a car on the Golden State Freeway near Newhall and at a Chatsworth house.
Police arrested Angel Alvarado, 41, a transient; Efraim Belalcazar, 38, of Santa Clarita; Francesco Altoreilo, 28, of Sepulveda; Derly de la Cruz, 27, of Santa Clarita, and Rocco Campo, 26, of Chatsworth.
Authorities also seized a .357-magnum handgun and a late-model car, a truck and a van.
Linked to Past Raid
Simi police said last week’s bust was connected with their seizure in May of $2.5 million in suspected drug profits and the arrests of one Guatemalan and three Colombian nationals in Simi Valley and Chatsworth.
Police said the four, who were later deported, were not charged because no drugs were found. The cash was seized under state forfeiture statutes.
In addition to Simi police and the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, five other law enforcement agencies participated in last week’s investigation: the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, the Santa Paula Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.