Brothers Get 24 Years in Prison for Trafficking Heroin via Home Delivery Service in Orange County

Brothers Get 24 Years in Prison for Trafficking Heroin via Home Delivery Service in Orange County

Heroin and fentanyl pressed into pill form as seen in a file photo. (Courtesy of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration)

City News Service

City News Service

12/19/2023

Updated: 12/19/2023

SANTA ANA, Calif.—Two Riverside County brothers who operated a heroin trafficking ring and used two Orange County-based call centers to distribute their drugs were each sentenced Dec. 18 to 24 years in federal prison.
One person died of a fatal overdose from the drugs distributed by the brothers, according to Ciaran McEvoy, the public information officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Julio Cesar Martinez, 45, also known as “'Primo,” of Riverside, and Victor Martinez, 46, also known as “Hector,” of Hemet, were sentenced by United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney in separate hearings in a Santa Ana courtroom.
Each Martinez brother pleaded guilty on Aug. 16 to one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin.
From at least 2003 to July 2021, the two brothers ran a drug trafficking organization that imported heroin from Mexico into the United States by couriers who concealed the drug, sometimes in their body cavities, to Orange County, Mr. McEvoy said.
Once the heroin arrived in Orange County, Julio oversaw its distribution to various call centers that he also supervised. He also oversaw its distribution to customers.
After a customer placed a heroin order, Julio and his accomplices arranged for the drug’s delivery using “runners,” who were directed to deliver the heroin and take the customer’s payment, Mr. McEvoy said.
In December 2016, a customer who purchased heroin over the telephone from the brothers’ drug trafficking organization died of acute polydrug intoxication, including heroin.
The brothers admitted in their plea agreements to distributing at least 29 kilograms of heroin onto the streets of Orange County. Federal prosecutors have secured 16 convictions in this case.
“These two brothers took drug dealing to another level by operating a heroin-delivery service that profited on the addiction and affliction of others,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. “While they and their families lived lavishly, these defendants ignored the destruction they caused in our community. Today’s sentence sends a clear message that we will not stand for misconduct of this sort.”
Authorities said the Martinez brothers and other conspirators used coded language on the telephone while engaging in drug distribution activity. For example, the organization’s code word for heroin was food and its code word for one gram of heroin was taco.
To conceal the source of the income the organization generated, Julio Cesar Martinez and Victor Martinez caused the deposit of the heroin sales proceeds into bank accounts held by other conspirators.
The brothers ordered their co-conspirators to structure the deposits into the bank accounts in such a way to evade federal reporting requirements by depositing the money at different banks and by breaking the deposits up into amounts $10,000 and under, Mr. McEvoy said.
They then used the proceeds from the drug sales to purchase cars and homes and to fund their lifestyles.
“‘Operation Horse Caller’ targeted all levels of this international drug trafficking network, ranging from suppliers in Mexico to mules and runners delivering drugs to customers in Orange County at the direction of the Martinez brothers,” said Donald Alway, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office.
“Federal and local law enforcement agencies working in partnership led to the dismantling of the Martinez brothers’ network and closed off a main pipeline of the heroin supply in Orange County that operated for years and led to deadly consequences.”
The FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation investigated this case. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Newport Beach Police Department, Costa Mesa Police Department, Huntington Beach Police Department, Oxnard Police Department, California Highway Patrol, and March Air Reserve Base provided substantial assistance, Mr. McEvoy said.
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