Thursday, November 24, 2022
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Operation Bear Trap Targets Drug Trafficking in the South Lake Tahoe Area

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — During a coordinated law enforcement operation this morning, law enforcement agents and officers executed three search warrants and arrested four defendants in South Lake Tahoe and Sacramento, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

The following defendants were arrested today with a criminal complaint for their participation in trafficking methamphetamine and heroin in and around South Lake Tahoe:

Sarah Anderson, 32, of South Lake Tahoe;
Fabian Gomez, 33, of South Lake Tahoe;
Epifanio Ramirez, 47, of South Lake Tahoe; and

Joaleen Rogers, 53, of South Lake Tahoe.

The arrests were made as part of a continuation of Operation Bear Trap that began in 2020 to address the growing problem of methamphetamine distribution in South Lake Tahoe. Four additional defendants were charged last August with multiple drug and gun trafficking crimes as part of the same operation. Over the course of the operation, law enforcement agencies have interdicted methamphetamine, heroin, and numerous firearms, including “ghost” pistols and assault rifles (firearms manufactured without serial numbers, making them harder for law enforcement to trace). Today’s searches resulted in the recovery of a barn owl, which are a protected species under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

To date 36 individuals have been arrested in connection to Operational Bear Trap in California and Nevada on state and federal charges related to drug and firearms trafficking.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney James Conolly is prosecuting the case.

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.

The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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