The accused leader of Manny’s Delivery Service, a heroin-trafficking ring that operated like a pizza home delivery business, was sentenced to nearly 20 years in federal prison on Monday.
Sigifredo Gurrola Barrientos, 42, managed the Van Nuys-based crime ring operation from 2016 to December 2017, using a fleet of cars and drivers to deliver drugs, including heroin and cocaine, to customers who placed orders by phone, according to the Department of Justice. Authorities seized roughly 14 pounds of heroin, more than a pound of cocaine and a significant amount of cash in raids of multiple locations throughout Southern California. The service generated about $250,000 a week from the packaging and distribution of heroin, officials said.
The Sylmar man was also fined $40,000 and was ordered to serve five years under supervised release following his 235-month prison sentence.
U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson said Barrientos was “willing to profit off the misery and at the expense of communities that have to live with the consequences of drug trafficking. Distribution of this poison… carries a very steep price.”
The drug trafficking operation was uncovered in December 2017 and Barrientos has been in police custody since.
Court papers show that as Manny’s manager, Barrientos purchased wholesale quantities of drugs, managed employees, kept sales ledgers, arranged for the storage and transportation of narcotics, and oversaw the fleet of drivers.
Barrientos was the lead defendant in a federal grand jury indictment that charged a total of 14 people with offenses related to the delivery operation. He pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances in April 2018. His top lieutenant in the operation, Adrian “Toro” Munoz-Garcia, 26, of Buena Park was sentenced in May to eight years behind bars.
“This case is a painful reminder of the illegal drug epidemic this country is facing,” Anderson said in court.
The sentencing comes in the midst of a nationwide opioid crisis. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last year that in 2017, more than 15,000 people in the U.S. died from drug overdoses involving heroin. That death rate increased five-fold from 2010 to 2017.
City News Service contributed to this report.