Group indicted for drug operation |

Group indicted for drug operation

Isaac Brambila

A federal grand jury returned a 17-count indictment Thursday against six people who are charged with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and heroin.

Kenneth Tam, 53; Gerald Osborne, 56; Sherlynn Charles, 52; Marco Antonio Borja, 38; Adalberto Valenzuela-Ruiz, 30; and Nelson Gutierrez, 26, were named in the indictment, which also includes charges of possession and distribution of methamphetamine and heroin, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced, according to a press release issued by the United States Department of Justice.

According to court documents, authorities began a seven-month investigation in January after law enforcement received reports that Tam was trafficking large amounts of methamphetamine and heroin throughout Sacramento, Yolo, and El Dorado Counties, according to the press release.

Tam allegedly acquired large amounts of methamphetamine from Borja, Valenzuela-Ruiz, and Gutierrez, as well as heroin from other sources, and used sub-dealers, including Osborne and Charles, to distribute those drugs on his behalf.

Through controlled purchases, searches, and other law enforcement activity, investigators seized more than nine pounds of methamphetamine and nearly two pounds of heroin, the press release stated.

The bust was the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the press release read. Assistant United States Attorney Michael D. McCoy will be charged with prosecuting the case.

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If convicted, Kenneth Tam and Gerald Osborne can face sentences of 20 years to life in prison and a $20 million fine.

The four remaining defendants could each face 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine.

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, according to the press release.

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