On December 19, 2018, the local Siskiyou Unified Major Investigation Team (SUMIT) made two major drug trafficking arrests in Siskiyou County after they concluded an undercover operation that lasted nearly one-year. The complex, multi-jurisdictional investigation began in January 2018 when SUMIT Special Agents received information that one or more suspects were distributing large quantities of methamphetamine in eastern Siskiyou County and in the Klamath County, Oregon area.
The main suspect in the case, Mr. Luis Alberto Valerio-Martinez, 33, of Tulelake, was not only associated with the drug trafficking allegations, but the investigation revealed he was a known associate of an organized criminal gang, the Norteno’s.
A second suspect, Mr. Jose Arnulfo Alcala-Garcia, 29, of Tulelake, was implicated in the criminal conspiracy and drug trafficking as well, by SUMIT agents. Both suspects were linked to an active, significant, on-going criminal drug trafficking enterprise, which acquired, sold, and distributed large quantities of methamphetamine and other drugs in the local area.
Due to the evolving complexity and multi-jurisdictional nature of the on-going drug trafficking operation, SUMIT agents requested the assistance of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). During the course of the investigation, SUMIT and DEA agents seized over 2-pounds of methamphetamine, 1-ounce of heroin, and large amounts of prescription pills from both Valerio-Martinez and Alcala-Garcia.
On December 19, 2018, SUMIT and DEA agents, along with personnel from the California DOJ’s Bureau of Investigations (DOJ BI), DOJ BI-led North State Major Investigation Team (NSMIT), California Highway Patrol (CHP), California Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFWL), U. S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO), Yreka Police Department (YPD), Siskiyou County Probation Department (SCPD), and Lake Shastina Police Department (LSPD), served three search warrants in Tulelake, California. During the search warrant operations, agents seized over one-quarter pound of methamphetamine and materials used to facilitate the distribution and sale of illicit drugs. Agents arrested Mr. Valerio-Martinez and Mr. Alcala-Garcia for outstanding federal arrest warrants that culminated from the methamphetamine drug trafficking investigation.
Both suspects were remanded to federal custody and will soon face drug-trafficking charges filed by the Eastern District of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, led by U.S. Attorney MacGregor Scott.
According to Sheriff Jon Lopey, “We are pleased that SUMIT and its many partner agencies (DOJ-BI, CHP, SCSO, BLM, YPD, LSPD, and assistance provided by the SCPD, DEA, and NSMIT) conducted such a successful investigation into a major drug trafficking ring, which was gang-related, operating in Siskiyou County. Multi-Agency drug task forces such as SUMIT and NSMIT and our federal partner agencies, such as DEA, are absolutely vital in combating the significant drug trafficking problem that is prevalent in our own county and other parts of the state. SCSO has a detective and detective sergeant assigned to SUMIT and NSMIT, respectively, and we could not effectively combat and defeat the drug trafficking organizations in our county and transiting our major highways without the contributions of partner agencies that make these drug task forces so important and effective. We are also grateful for those agencies willing to assist us with these major crime investigations and search warrant operations, which led to these key arrests without anyone getting hurt.
SUMIT (formerly SCINTF) has operated as a multi-agency drug task force in Siskiyou County for over 30-years. The California DOJ-BI-led team includes full-time or part-time member agencies that include DOJ-BI, CHP, SCSO, LSPD, BLM, YPD, SCPD, and Siskiyou County District Attorney’s Office. Although 2018 statistics data for SUMIT is being tabulated, during 2017, SUMIT seized 63.16 grams of heroin, 1,123 grams of cocaine, 10,213 grams of methamphetamine, 126 illegal prescription pills, 399.36 pounds of illegal marijuana, 279.22 grams of concentrated cannabis, 7,223 illegal marijuana plants, 32 dosages of Ecstasy, and 8.62 grams of psilocybin. SUMIT seized 11 firearms and made 65 arrests during 2017. A 2018 SUMIT annual report will be finalized within the next 2 to 3-weeks. The current SUMIT board chair is YPD Chief of Police Dave Gamache.
Anyone with information about this drug trafficking organization or the actions of the suspects in this case is urged to contact SUMIT at (530) 842-8374. Anyone aware of illicit drug activity in their neighborhoods are urged to contact their local law enforcement agency, or, if in the unincorporated area of Siskiyou County, or in the contract cities of Dunsmuir, Fort Jones, Montague, or Dorris, contact the SCSO’s 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900. SUMIT may be contacted at any time and tips to law enforcement agencies or SUMIT may be made anonymously.
Press release provided from Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office.