Large-scale bust targets unlicensed dealers of guns, drugs

in Crime/Featured/Headline

It wasn’t an ICE operation. Rather, a large-scale law enforcement effort last week that resulted in the arrests of over two dozen people — including nine San Mateo County residents — targeted illegal possession and dealing of guns and drugs, authorities say.

The operation, which was spearheaded by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and which involved over a dozen law enforcement agencies, reportedly sparked concern in San Mateo County that local undocumented immigrants were being targeted. But the U.S. Attorney’s Office says the operation was “years in the making” and derived from an investigation into illegal gun and drugs activity by the ATF and San Mateo County Gang Intelligence.

During the operation, more than 130 firearms, 39 pounds of methamphetamine and about 20 pounds of marijuana were seized, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Among those arrested on charges of conspiring to deal firearms without a license were Jose Buenrostro, 30, of Redwood City; Francisco Nunez-Nepita, 21, of East Palo Alto; William Alexis-Villa, 22, of Menlo Park; Erizondo Mora-Tapia, 25, of East Palo Alto; and Jonathan Robert Figueroa, 25, of Redwood City.

Among those arrested on charges of dealing and/or possession of methamphetamine were Francisco Garibay, 21, of South San Francisco; Jonathan Flores, 20, of San Mateo; Buenrostro; and Cristian Rafael Morales, 23, of San Mateo.

“Guns and drugs are a dangerous combination,” U.S. Attorney David Anderson said. “Public safety demands the kind of law enforcement cooperation we see in this enforcement action.”