SAN FRANCISCO – A federal jury today convicted Armando Daniel Calderon of four charges related to methamphetamine trafficking, announced Acting United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Wade R. Shannon. The verdict follows a one and a half week jury trial before the Honorable William Alsup, Senior United States District Judge.
Calderon, 35 and most recently known to live in San Jose, was indicted with six co-defendants on October 11, 2018. The indictment charged Calderon with the following four counts:
• possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A), alleged to have occurred on August 20, 2018;
• carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), alleged to have occurred on August 20, 2018;
• conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, alleged to have occurred during the month of September 2018; and
• possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A), alleged to have occurred on September 25, 2018.
According to the evidence presented to the federal jury at trial, on August 20, 2018, San Jose State University Police Department officers pulled over Calderon’s pickup truck in the vicinity of Keyes Street and South 3rd Street in San Jose. Calderon, who was the driver and sole occupant, had multiple outstanding arrest warrants and was placed under arrest. Officers found $5,363 in cash and six .40 caliber bullets in Calderon’s pants pockets and three bags inside his truck. One bag contained methamphetamine and .40 caliber ammunition, the second contained more methamphetamine, and the third contained a high-capacity pistol magazine loaded with 18 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition. Next to the driver’s seat, officers discovered a .40 caliber pistol loaded with nine rounds of .40 caliber ammunition. Calderon’s truck also contained a drug scale and multiple cell phones. The methamphetamine discovered in Calderon’s truck weighed approximately 1.83 pounds.
Further evidence at trial showed that in September 2018 Calderon conspired with at least one other person to distribute methamphetamine. During that month, Calderon repeatedly spoke on the phone and met in the San Mateo area with a buyer to negotiate the sale of 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of methamphetamine. The negotiations eventually resulted in an agreed-upon price of $4,700 per kilogram of methamphetamine, with a total price of $70,500 for 15 kilograms. Calderon guaranteed the quality of the methamphetamine and agreed to exchange it for additional methamphetamine if the buyer was dissatisfied with the product. On September 25, 2018, Calderon met with the buyer early in the day, ultimately agreeing to deliver the methamphetamine in the parking lot of a Menlo Park shopping center. Later that day, Calderon and two co-defendants were arrested near the shopping center following a short pursuit. Over 989 grams (more than two pounds) of pure methamphetamine was seized by law enforcement at the scene, and another 6,492 grams (over 14 pounds) of pure methamphetamine was seized from a nearby stash house. Agents also located documents bearing Calderon’s name inside the stash house.
Additional evidence at trial showed that on September 25, 2018, prior to his arrest, Calderon secreted methamphetamine inside a red Mustang parked outside the stash house. Law enforcement agents seized the methamphetamine and determined it weighed over 317 grams (over two thirds of a pound).
Senior United States District Judge William Alsup scheduled a sentencing hearing for Calderon on September 14, 2021, at 2 p.m. Calderon remains in custody pending sentencing.
Calderon faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life for each conviction of 21 U.S.C. § 841 and 21 U.S.C. § 846, and a fine of $10,000,000 for each conviction. For his conviction of 18 U.S.C. 924(c), Calderon faces a minimum sentence of 5 years consecutive to any other sentence and a maximum of life, along with a maximum fine of $250,000. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the Court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erin Cornell and Sloan Heffron prosecuted the case with the assistance of Patricia Mahoney, Andy Ding, Hector Lopez, and Madeline Wachs. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the San Mateo County Sheriff, the San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force, and the San Jose State University Police Department.
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