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FRESNO, Calif. — Oscar Reyes, 31, of Mendota, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd to three years in prison for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, Reyes was a member of La Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), a violent criminal street gang that engages in racketeering activity, including murder, kidnapping, extortion, and drug trafficking. Reyes pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute controlled substances on behalf of the MS-13 gang, the proceeds of which were the lifeblood of an extremely violent gang.

On Aug. 31, 2018, U.S. Attorney Scott announced the results of a multi-agency operation in Mendota where 25 individuals associated with MS-13 were arrested in California on federal and state charges. The investigation began after reports that MS-13 had established a presence in Fresno County. The investigation centered in and around the City of Mendota, a Central Valley town 35 miles west of Fresno. Investigators found evidence of broad criminal activity, including murder, assault, firearms possession and drug trafficking activity.

Of the federal defendants charged in this case, four have previously been sentenced, four others have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. The remaining eight co-defendants are scheduled for trial on Feb. 2, 2021. These remaining defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation was conducted by the California Department of Justice and California Highway Patrol Special Operations Unit, the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Special Services Unit (SSU). The CHP Special Operations Unit is a collaborative investigative effort between the California Department of Justice and California Highway Patrol that provides statewide enforcement to combat violent career criminals, gangs, and organized crime groups, along with intrastate drug traffickers. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ross Pearson, Kathleen Servatius and Kimberly Sanchez are prosecuting this and related cases.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF is the largest anticrime task force in the country, and its mission is to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug trafficking and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States. The prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi‑agency task forces leverage the authorities and expertise of federal, state, and local law enforcement.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime. To learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods, go to www.justice.gov/psn.

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