Twelve Defendants Charged in 5 Indictments with Trafficking Fentanyl and Methamphetamine in the Central Valley

2 mins read
FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

FRESNO, Calif. — Due to the efforts of federal and local law enforcement agencies working together over the course of the past 18 months on an investigation targeting local criminal street gangs in Bakersfield, 12 defendants were indicted for drug trafficking and firearms offenses, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

On Nov. 17, 2022, a federal grand jury returned an 11-count indictment against William Arthur Poush, 43, of Bakersfield; Rosa Fernandez, 43, of Bakersfield; Timothy Robert Hingston, 39, of North Hollywood; Spencer Matthew Hopper, 35, of Montrose; and Dale Vincent Perez, 39, of Bakersfield. According to court documents, on Jan. 20, 2022, and Feb. 24, 2022, Poush and Fernandez sold over 50 grams of methamphetamine to a confidential informant. On May 11, 2022, Poush sold over 50 grams of methamphetamine and a quantity of fentanyl pills to a confidential informant. On Aug. 13, 2022, Hingston and Hopper distributed over 500 grams of methamphetamine and over 400 grams of fentanyl to Poush, and Poush possessed that same quantity with intent to distribute. On Aug. 19, 2022, Poush and Perez conspired to possess with intent to distribute over 50 grams of methamphetamine, and Perez possessed that same quantity with intent to distribute. And on Sept. 1, 2022, Poush possessed over 50 grams of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment against Bakersfield residents Dale Wesley Hubbard, 49, and Darlene Crystal Viera, 40, charging them with conspiring and distributing methamphetamine and fentanyl. According to court documents, Hubbard and Viera sold over 50 grams of methamphetamine and over 40 grams of fentanyl to a confidential informant on May 3, 2022; and sold over 50 grams of methamphetamine to a confidential informant on May 25, 2022.

A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment against Bakersfield residents Manuel Yanes, 25, and Jorge Luis Yanes, 28, charging them with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine. According to court documents, on June 29, 2022, and on July 22, 2022, Manuel Yanes agreed to sell over 50 grams of methamphetamine to a confidential informant and Jorge Yanes delivered that same amount of methamphetamine to a confidential informant.

A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment against Bakersfield residents Luis Mauricio Castenon, 33, and Bryan Steven Reyes, 28, charging them with conspiracy to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine. According to court documents, on July 16, 2020, Castenon sold over 50 grams of methamphetamine to a confidential informant. On Dec. 10, 2021, Castenon and Reyes conspired to distribute and did distribute over 50 grams of methamphetamine to a confidential informant, and on April 15, 2022, Reyes sold over 50 grams of methamphetamine to a confidential informant.

A federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment against David Garcia, 35, of Bakersfield, charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. According to court documents, during a traffic stop, officers learned that Garcia was on parole and subject to search terms. A search of his vehicle yielded a stolen, loaded firearm and over 50 grams of methamphetamine.

These cases are the product of an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, the Bakersfield Police Department, the Kern County Probation Department, the Kern County District Attorney’s Office, and the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), and the California Highway Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica A. Massey is prosecuting the cases.

If convicted, the defendants face various maximum sentences between 10 years and life in prison and $250,000 to $10 million in fines. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.