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Calabasas Man Accused of Running Drug Delivery Service Pleads Not Guilty

Calabasas Man Accused of Running Drug Delivery Service Pleads Not Guilty

The U.S. Department of Justice building in Washington on March 28, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

City News Service

City News Service

11/23/2023

Updated: 11/23/2023

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LOS ANGELES—A Calabasas man who allegedly ran a drug trafficking operation that provided same-day delivery of cocaine and fentanyl-laced oxycodone, including to one victim who died from an overdose, was arraigned Nov. 22 on federal narcotics charges.
Erick Oved Estrada, 35, who was also known as Franco Sanchez and Eric Freddy Hook, allegedly ran the drug delivery operation out of his Calabasas home, located in Los Angeles County, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
Mr. Estrada was arrested Nov. 21 along with three other defendants, including his wife—all of whom were arraigned Nov. 22 in Los Angeles federal court.
Along with Mr. Estrada, the defendants are the following:
  • Arian Alani, 34, of Burbank, who, along with Mr. Estrada, allegedly distributed the fentanyl that led to the victim’s fatal overdose in June 2022
  • Gilberto Marquez, 34, of Woodland Hills, an alleged lieutenant in the drug trafficking operation
  • Zoila Michelle Estrada, 36, of Calabasas, Erick Estrada’s wife
A Jan. 16 trial date was scheduled, and a federal magistrate judge ordered all four defendants detained.
Law enforcement continues to search for defendants Tomas Marquez-Ruiz, 37, known as “El Cafecito,” of Chatsworth, another alleged lieutenant in the drug trafficking operation, and Caseya Chanel Brown, 39, also known as “Mom,” of Woodland Hills, an alleged delivery driver in the drug trafficking operation, according to the DOJ.
According to the 18-count indictment returned Nov. 15 and unsealed Nov. 22, from May 2019 to June 2022, Erick Estrada obtained narcotics, including cocaine and purported oxycodone pills that actually contained fentanyl.
Erick Estrada, Mr. Marquez-Ruiz, and Mr. Marquez then allegedly provided these drugs to a network of delivery drivers, including Ms. Brown and other coconspirators, for further distribution to customers or other drug distributors. Ms. Brown and others directly provided the drugs to customers or distributors, and collected payment, the DOJ said.
On June 8, 2022, Erick Estrada allegedly sold 25 oxycodone pills to Mr. Alani and a driver then provided to Mr. Alani the purported oxycodone pills, which in fact contained fentanyl. The following day, Mr. Alani allegedly sold some of the fentanyl-laced pills to the victim, identified in the indictment as C.N., who later died of a drug overdose, according to the indictment.
On June 10, 2022, Mr. Alani confronted Erick Estrada via text message and wrote, “My boy just died yesterday”—a reference to C.N.—and that Mr. Estrada shouldn’t be selling drugs with fentanyl, court papers show.
Erick and Zoila Estrada laundered the drug proceeds through his sham businesses’ bank accounts, where they used the money for various personal expenses, including luxury vehicles such as a Lamborghini and a Land Rover, the indictment alleges.
Erick Estrada, Mr. Marquez-Ruiz, Mr. Marquez, and Ms. Brown are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances resulting in death and one count of distribution of cocaine.
Erick Estrada also is charged with two additional counts of distribution of cocaine, one count of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death, and 11 counts of money laundering. Mr. Alani is charged with one count of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death. Zoila Estrada is charged with one count of money laundering, according to the indictment.
If convicted of all charges, Erick Estrada, Mr. Marquez-Ruiz, Mr. Marquez, Ms. Brown, and Mr. Alani would face a sentence of 20 years to life imprisonment. If convicted, Zoila Estrada would face up to 10 years in prison, prosecutors noted.
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