Weeks after New Times ran a cover story about the rise in popularity of heroin use in San Luis Obispo County, local law enforcement agents—with help from a number of federal agencies—took down an alleged drug ring they claim is responsible for a large portion of the drug available locally, and with “direct” ties to Mexican drug cartels.
On Dec. 4, the culmination of a five-month investigation ended with the serving of 13 search warrants in different locations across SLO, Riverside, and Monterey counties, resulting in 15 arrests for a host of drug-related offenses.
According to the Sheriff’s Department, the operation netted close to three pounds of heroin with a street value of around $110,000. It also confiscated about $66,000 in cash, 50 guns, eight vehicles, and a boat.
However, no part of any of the operations is subject to public scrutiny, thanks to a local judge who ordered all the warrants sealed, and thus details regarding how law enforcement conducted their investigation are not available to the public for review.
The reason for keeping affidavits associated with the warrants out of the public eye is likely due to the use of confidential informants, which law enforcement often employs—and usually pays—for information leading to arrests.
According to Sheriff’s Department Spokesman Tony Cipolla, the suspects arrested in the operation will face charges locally.