LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The leader of a pizza-style telephone-order heroin and cocaine ring that operated in the San Fernando Valley has been sentenced to nearly 20 years in federal prison.
Sigifredo Gurrola “El Don” Barrientos, 42, who lived in Sylmar, was also ordered to pay a $40,000 fine and serve five years under supervised release following his 235-month prison term. However, he is expected to be returned to Mexico immediately after he is released from federal prison.
Barrientos pleaded guilty last year in downtown Los Angeles to a single felony count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.
“In simplest terms, this defendant is a drug trafficker and drug dealer ... (who has) little or no respect for the law,” US District Judge Percy Anderson said from the bench.
“This case is a painful reminder of the illegal drug epidemic this country is facing,'' Anderson said, adding that he has seen the effects of heroin — from addicts suffering flesh-eating disease and overdoses to families ripped apart.
“Trafficking, selling or using this poison carries a heavy price,” he said.
Anderson rejected a defense motion to seal the courtroom.
In a brief statement to the court, Barrientos apologized for his actions, telling the judge that “if you give me a chance, you’ll never see me in this court or in this country again.”
Barrientos was among 14 people named in a 2017 federal indictment targeting Manny's Delivery Service, which operated out of Van Nuys from at least 2013 until it was shut down two years ago. As leader of the ring, Barrientos oversaw the movement of narcotics and a fleet of vehicles used to make rapid deliveries of heroin in response to phone orders, according to prosecutors.
Barrientos purchased wholesale quantities of drugs, managed employees, kept sales ledgers, arranged for storage and transportation of narcotics, and maintained a fleet of delivery vehicles, court papers show.
The Manny’s organization utilized a staff of drivers who delivered drugs to — and received payment from — the ring’s customers during business hours, using vehicles containing hidden compartments. The drivers operated at the direction of dispatchers, who relayed customer orders and locations.
While the service sold small quantities to telephone customers, conspirators sold larger quantities to other dealers as part of a high-volume drug ring, prosecutors said.
Barrientos’ top lieutant, Adrian “Toro” Munoz-Garcia, 26, of Buena Park was sentenced by Anderson in May to eight years behind bars.
During a two-month period that began in late August 2017, members of the ring obtained multi-pound amounts 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 Van Nuys.
Authorities seized about 14 pounds of heroin, more than a pound of cocaine and a significant amount of cash during the takedown, federal prosecutors said.