Friday, March 22, 2019

SoCal Trio Indicted for Allegedly Conspiring to Sell 100 Pounds of Methamphetamine at Luxury Orange County Hotel

          SANTA ANA, California – A federal grand jury has returned a four-count superseding indictment charging three men with conspiring to sell 100 pounds of methamphetamine at a luxury hotel in Huntington Beach.

          The grand jury on Tuesday charged Rami Haddad, 38, of Costa Mesa, Steven Barragan, 37, of Montebello, and Ernest Tyrone Walton, Jr., 37, of Anaheim, with conspiracy to distribute 100 pounds of methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute 39.94 kilograms, or 88 pounds, of methamphetamine. Haddad has been charged with using a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and now faces an additional charge of knowingly distributing 4.5 kilograms, or 9.9 pounds, of methamphetamine. The defendants’ arraignment on the indictment is scheduled for April 1 in Santa Ana.

          According to an affidavit filed with a criminal complaint in the case, on January 16, Haddad agreed to sell 10 pounds of methamphetamine for more than $15,000 but first requested the buyer meet at his home. During the meeting at Haddad’s home, Haddad allegedly showed the buyer a .38-caliber revolver. Haddad later delivered the 10 pounds of methamphetamine in a black duffel bag to the buyer, who was staying at the Kimpton Shorebreak Huntington Beach Resort, court papers state.

          On January 28, Haddad allegedly informed the buyer that he had ordered 100 pounds of methamphetamine through his supplier. A few days later, Haddad packaged methamphetamine in his garage, where he kept the .38 caliber revolver for protection, according to the affidavit. On February 4, law enforcement observed Haddad and Walton walking out of Haddad’s home carrying large black boxes, and loading the boxes into Walton’s car, court papers state. Haddad and Walton then drove separately to the Kimpton Shorebreak Huntington Beach Resort for the delivery and sale of the 100 pounds of methamphetamine, according to court documents. Haddad was arrested in the hotel lobby as he made his entrance, while Walton later was arrested nearby, court papers state.

          After his arrest, Haddad admitted to picking up the shipment of methamphetamine a few days earlier with Barragan’s assistance, and discussing with Barragan the possibility of diluting the methamphetamine to make it appear larger than it was, the affidavit states. Haddad then admitted to packaging the narcotics into small plastic bags and putting them into boxes so they could be delivered to the buyer, court papers state. The narcotics seized in that arrest totaled 39.94 kilograms, or 88 pounds, of methamphetamine, according to the indictment.

          If convicted on all charges, each defendant faces a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison.

          An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

          This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

          This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel S. Lim of the Santa Ana Branch Office.

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