LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The supervisor of a pizza-style drug distribution ring that operated out of Van Nuys and used a fleet of cars and a staff of drivers to make rapid deliveries of heroin and cocaine was sentenced today to eight years in federal prison.
Adrian “Toro” Munoz-Garcia, 25, of Buena Park was also ordered to pay a $35,000 fine and serve five years under supervised release following his 97-month term behind bars.
U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson said that Munoz-Garcia's “substantial assistance” in the case “encouraged others to plead guilty.”
More than a dozen co-defendants entered into plea deals with prosecutors in the six months following the December 2017 takedown of the operation, defense attorney James Blatt told the court.
Munoz-Garcia pleaded guilty last year to a single felony count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. He originally faced a prison term of no less than 10 years, but because of his cooperation, the U.S. Attorney's Office recommended a lesser penalty.
The defendant was among more than 14 people arrested in connection with the indictment targeting so-called Manny's Delivery Service, which had operated in the San Fernando Valley for years.
While the service sold small quantities to telephone customers, conspirators sold larger quantities to other dealers as part of a high-volume drug ring, papers filed in Los Angeles federal court show.
During a two-month period that began in summer 2017, members of the ring obtained multi-pound quantities of black-tar heroin from Mexico and moved hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, according to secretly recorded conversations outlined in the indictment. Bulk narcotics were stored in a stash house, and smaller quantities of drugs were packaged and dispatched to addicts from a Van Nuys facility.
Authorities seized about 14 pounds of heroin, more than a pound of cocaine and a significant amount of cash during the 2017 takedown, federal prosecutors said.
Sigifredo Gurrola Barrientos, 41, of Sylmar who managed the operation and oversaw the movement of narcotics and the delivery fleet, pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. As his second-in-command, Munoz-Garcia managed, supervised and disciplined the drivers.
During the 15 months he has been in custody in San Bernardino awaiting sentencing, Munoz-Garcia has closely observed many heroin addicts and the “disastrous effects” the drug has on users, Blatt said.
In his statement to the court, Munoz-Garcia apologized for “all the mistakes I've made,” and promised that he would “never again be in a court like this.”