Los Angeles

Boss of San Fernando Valley Telephone-Order Cocaine and Heroin Ring to Plead Guilty

The boss of Manny's Delivery Service, a pizza-style telephone-order heroin and cocaine ring that operated in the San Fernando Valley for years, is expected to plead guilty Monday to a federal drug distribution charge.

Sigifredo Gurrola "El Don" Barrientos, 40, of Sylmar, will enter his plea in downtown Los Angeles to a single felony count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.

Because he was previously convicted of a felony drug distribution charge in state court, Barrientos faces a federal prison term of at least 20 years when sentenced, court papers show.

Barrientos was among 14 people named in a December indictment targeting Manny's, which reportedly operated out of Van Nuys for about 10 years. As leader of the ring, Barrientos oversaw the movement of narcotics and a fleet of vehicles used to make rapid deliveries of heroin in response to phone orders, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Court papers show Barrientos purchased wholesale quantities of drugs, managed employees, kept sales ledgers, arranged for storage and transportation of narcotics, and maintained a fleet of delivery vehicles. In the past month, the ring's supervisor -- Barrientos' "right-hand man" -- and a delivery driver entered guilty pleas to the conspiracy count.

The Manny's organization utilized a staff of drivers who delivered drugs to -- and received payment from -- the ring's customers during business hours, using vehicles containing hidden compartments. The drivers operated at the direction of dispatchers, who relayed customer orders and locations.

While the service sold small quantities to telephone customers, conspirators sold larger quantities to other dealers as part of a high-volume drug ring, prosecutors wrote in court papers.

During a two-month period that began in late August, members of the ring obtained multi-pound amounts of black-tar heroin from Mexico and moved hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, according to secretly recorded conversations outlined in the indictment. Bulk narcotics were stored in a stash house, and smaller quantities of drugs were packaged and dispatched to addicts from Van Nuys.

Authorities seized about 14 pounds of heroin, more than a pound of cocaine and a significant amount of cash during the takedown last winter, federal prosecutors said.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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