SAN DIEGO — A prolific firearms trafficker was sentenced in a San Diego federal court Wednesday for his role in supplying high-powered weapons and ammunition to the Sinaloa Cartel.
According to U.S. attorney Tara McGrath’s office, Alfredo Lomas Navarrete was handed a 15-year prison stay after he pled guilty in April to conspiring to import cocaine, distribute cocaine, commit money laundering, and smuggle goods from the U.S.
“The sentencing of Mr. Navarrete is a major milestone in federal law enforcement’s efforts to disrupt and dismantle illegal trafficking operations of all kinds,” said Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy of the FBI San Diego Field Office. “We are proud to support our law enforcement partners in all efforts that target and take down crime organizations that threaten the citizens of the United States of America.”
His sentencing is part of a long-running investigation targeting the Valenzuela Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO), which is one of the largest importers of cocaine and other controlled substances from South America and Mexico, the attorney’s office explained.
According to court documents, the Valenzuela TCO was engaged in violent conflict with another component of the Sinaloa Cartel throughout 2020. A previous TCO leader ended up being killed, which led Valenzuela TCO to acquire large quantities of firearms and ammunition.
The attorney’s office said a number of these items were sourced from within the U.S. and smuggled into Mexico through arms trafficking networks, which prompted this investigation. Agents determined Lomas Navarrete was a major firearms trafficker for the TCO.
“The Venezuelan transnational criminal organization has brought death and suffering to countless people through their once prosperous criminal enterprise,” said Special Agent in Charge Chad Plantz of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Diego. “The sentencing of this firearms trafficker sends a resounding message to traffickers and criminals around the world that HSI and the law enforcement community will vehemently pursue those who seek to harm not only Americans, but humanity as a whole with their brutality and deadly drugs.”
This investigation has resulted in the charging of 109 defendants and the seizure of around 2,000 kilograms of cocaine and fentanyl, over $16 million in cash, and 21,000 rounds of ammunition, officials confirmed.