San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson announced a large drug bust — valued at about $1.5 million — as well as the breakup of a methamphetamine and heroin ring in San Luis Obispo County. Parkinson said the drug ring originated in Mexico and had multiple cells operating throughout the United States, particularly in Southern California.
Though most of the action in the case did not occur recently, Parkinson, who is currently running for reelection, held a press conference Thursday in which he revealed large quantities of seized methamphetamine and heroin. As part of the case, investigators seized slightly less than $1 million worth of methamphetamine and heroin, as well as $500,000 worth of cocaine.
Thus far, authorities have caught nine suspects, while another five remain on the loose. While most of the suspects are listed as San Luis Obispo County residents, only one is currently in SLO County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office website.
Parkinson said the investigation began in Nov. 2016 with the arrest of Jaime Vega, 45, of Paso Robles, who was thought to be the ringleader of the operation. CEnrique Garcia, 25, of Cambria, was then believed to have taken over leadership of the drug distribution ring.
In April 2017, authorities stopped two members of the organization, Jesus Corona Farias and Adrian Contreras Aguilar, in San Bernardino County with 13 pounds of methamphetamine.
Investigators believe that, around the time of the San Bernardino bust, Garcia fled to Mexico, and Garcia’s girlfriend, 22-year-old Gabriela Bucio of Cambria, assumed leadership of the drug network.
Ultimately, authorities seized 63 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated value of $850,000 and three pounds of heroin with an estimated value of $136,000. The approximately $500,000, or nearly 28 pounds, of cocaine was confiscated following an investigation by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department task force.
Other agencies involved in the case include the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, California Highway Patrol, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Glendale Police Department and SLO County District Attorney’s Office and probation department.
The nine suspects who have already been caught are:
Jaime Vega, 45, Paso Robles
Daniel Clark Vanbenthuysen, 40, Atascadero
Denise Lopez, 19, Los Angeles
Adrian Contreras Aguilar, 20, Paso Robles
Jesus Corona Farias, 28, Cambria
Peter Paul Mascorro, 50, Morro Bay
Thomas Gibson, 71, San Miguel
Michael James McGardwell, 64, Atascadero
William Martin, 53, San Miguel
The five suspects with outstanding warrants are:
Enrique Garcia, 25, Cambria
Eduard Sanchez, 20, Los Angeles
Gabriela Bucio, 22, Cambria
Kimberly Ann Fisher, 50, San Luis Obispo
Norma Bucio, 20, Cambria