California man pleads guilty in Alaska meth conspiracy case
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — A second California man accused of trafficking a variety of drugs in Ketchikan has pleaded guilty to a charge of methamphetamine conspiracy.
Alfonso Francisco Sandoval entered his guilty plea in federal court Thursday in Juneau, the Ketchikan Daily News reported . He is scheduled to be sentenced in October.
Sandoval, 31, and Arthur Ruben Castillo, 31, were arrested in Ketchikan in early October following an investigation by state and local police and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
The two men lived in Fresno, California, and were involved in a network that smuggled drugs to Alaska, according to court documents.
Police searched Ketchikan residences associated with Castillo and Sandoval, finding a trove of illicit materials. Police recovered meth, heroin, marijuana, $16,465 in cash, a handgun, an assault weapon, armor-piercing bullets and multiple high-capacity magazines.
Police estimated that the pound (453 grams) of meth recovered had a street value of more than $200,000. The bags containing 2.75 ounces (78 grams) of heroin were valued at about $70,000, police said.
The scale and scope of Castillo and Sandoval’s drug trafficking had alerted federal authorities, police Sgt. Andy Berntson said.
“These guys are obviously a significant source for our area, and it got the attention of the federal prosecutors,” Berntson said. “And so they decided — well, all of us basically decided together — to turn that case over to the federal system.”
Sandoval and Castillo had distributed or possessed several pounds of meth and heroin, according to their plea agreement filed in federal court.
“Castillo coordinated and directed the distribution of methamphetamine in Ketchikan for the conspiracy, as well as collection of drug proceeds from co-conspirators for the sale of drugs in Ketchikan and for payment of drugs obtained from the Lower 48,” Sandoval’s agreement stated.
Castillo pleaded guilty in April. His sentencing is scheduled for September.
Information from: Ketchikan (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.ketchikandailynews.com