Leader of major meth ring sentenced

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SAN DIEGO — A Tijuana-based methamphetamine trafficker was sentenced Monday to more than 17 years in federal prison for his role as a transportation coordinator in a large-scale trafficking conspiracy.

Salvador Walker, 56, was convicted of conspiracy to import methamphetamine in September.

jail-cell“Methamphetamine is a particularly dangerous drug with devastating effects on the user and the community,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “The leaders and organizers of drug importation rings faces significant consequences for their actions. Today’s sentencing is a warning to all those leaders that they will be brought to justice and face significant custodial time for their aggravated crimes.”

According to evidence at trial, Walker’s trafficking activity first came to the attention of authorities in 2011 when Customs and Border Protection officers arrested Jaime Garcia-Covarrubias, George Ramirez and Gerardo Ramos- Tabardillo as they tried to drive separate vehicles loaded with meth through the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

All three couriers were later convicted of importing meth.

Walker was later identified as a common link among the three, according to court papers.

An investigation revealed Walker was responsible for recruiting drivers to import drugs into the United States, and that he directly oversaw efforts to hide meth in vehicles to bring across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Agents learned that the three couriers alone made dozens of trips to Tijuana to load their vehicles with meth, then successfully brought the drugs into the United States and delivered it to Walker’s associates in the Los Angeles area.

At Walker’s trial, prosecutors said he supervised couriers who transported meth to associates in Anaheim and brought cash back to Mexico.