Operation Black Hawk
September 17, 2021
For the past six months, the Salinas Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations, in collaboration with the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office, conducted an in-depth investigation into Nor Cal Transportation, a Salinas-based trucking company. This investigation revealed that Nor Cal Transportation, in concert with the Sinaloa Cartel, trafficked narcotics— fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine— from Mexico into the United States, including narcotics shipments destined for Monterey County. During this investigation, officers seized 50 lbs. of methamphetamine, 8 lbs. heroin, and 24,000 prescription pills that contained fentanyl.
The collective street value of the seized narcotics exceeded $1,000,000. This investigation also revealed an active murder conspiracy amongst Nor Cal Transportation traffickers that targeted a Monterey County resident.
Simply put, this investigation saved lives. Methamphetamine overdoses have plagued our community for decades. Heroin and fentanyl overdoses sustain the ongoing opioid epidemic that persists throughout the country. In 2019, the most recent year with full statistics, nearly 50,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses. (1) Overdose deaths in 2019 involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl were nearly 12 times higher than in 2013. (2) A key component of the opioid epidemic is narcotics traffickers flooding communities with heroin and prescription drugs that look like legitimate prescription pills, but, like the 24,000 pills seized in this investigation, contain fentanyl. (3) Fentanyl is deadly in very small doses, often one laced pill. A lethal dose can also be accidentally inhaled or absorbed through skin contact. (3) This danger is not hypothetical, in recent years communities throughout Monterey County have seen an uptick in tragic overdose deaths caused by heroin and the very same type of pills seized in this investigation.
The results of this investigation mark a blow to those who put profit over life and makes clear law enforcement’s commitment to reversing the tide of the opioid epidemic and holding its perpetrator’s accountable for the lives they choose to imperil.
The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office appreciates the efforts of the Salinas Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, and allied agencies that assisted in this investigation, search warrants, and arrests.