Eight Orange County residents are among 10 people facing firearms- and narcotics-related charges after a six-month investigation focusing on Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa, authorities said this week.
Nine of the accused were arrested between February and June, according to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which announced details of the operation Thursday.
A federal grand jury indictment filed Feb. 6 accused Timothy “Papa Smurf” Murphy, 67, of Costa Mesa, Brad Nelson, 50, of Newport Beach, John Breneman, 46, of Irvine, Danny “Bull” Ramos, 49, of Santa Ana and Felix “Manuel” Reyes of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and heroin. Murphy, Nelson and Breneman also are accused of selling pistols, shotguns and ammunition to a person prohibited by a court from possessing firearms, the ATF said. Nelson also is charged with possessing firearms illegally, according to court documents.
The indictment alleges the defendants conspired to sell more than $2,500 worth of methamphetamine and $3,200 worth of heroin to a confidential informant between September and November.
A second grand jury indictment, also filed Feb. 6, accused three more men — Joseph Doody, 30, of Huntington Beach, Brian “Rosco” Ros, 32, of Santa Ana and Steve Bonales, aka “Ghost,” “G” and “S-Man,” 40, also of Santa Ana — of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine, the ATF said.
According to the indictment, those defendants conspired in the sale of about 2.3 pounds of methamphetamine and two pistols to a confidential informant between September and December, netting $7,200 over four transactions.
The indictment also accused Caleb Sagiao, 36, of Harbor City of selling semiautomatic shotguns with no serial numbers, along with homemade pistols and seven homemade AR-15-type short-barreled rifles, the ATF said. Short-barreled rifles must be registered with the ATF in accord with the National Firearms Act.
Sagiao, Doody, Ros and Shelia Cundall, 48, of Costa Mesa are accused of selling various firearms to a prohibited person, according to the ATF.
During the investigation, law enforcement officers acquired, through an informant, 20 firearms, ammunition, more than 5 pounds of methamphetamine and 131 grams of heroin, according to the ATF.
“The investigation and prosecution of these dangerous individuals would not have been possible without the excellent partnerships we enjoy with both local and federal law enforcement agencies,” Huntington Beach Police Chief Robert Handy said in a statement. “It is because our teams worked together [that] these dangerous people and weapons have been removed from our communities.”
The case was investigated by the Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa police departments, the ATF and Homeland Security Investigations and will be prosecuted by the U.S. attorney’s office.
“This type of law enforcement partnership amplifies our efforts to combat these crimes and allows us to cast a wider net,” Costa Mesa Police Chief Rob Sharpnack said in a statement. “The apprehension of these criminals is a step toward making our communities safer.”