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14 arrested in Whittier-based drug trafficking ring

Federal and local authorities on Thursday arrested 14 alleged members of a Whittier-based family-run drug trafficking ring.

The 14 suspects were among 44 people named in a federal indictment handed down last month and unsealed Thursday. Five others named in the indictment were already in custody, and authorities are seeking others. Because of the quantity of drugs involved, all face at least 10 years in prison.

During the course of the investigation, prosecutors said, agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration have seized more than 225 pounds of high-purity methamphetamine, more than 400 kilograms of cocaine and more than $4.6 million in cash.

The indictment is the third in a series that have focused on the Whittier-based Sendis family drug trafficking organization, which allegedly dealt in large quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine. The indictments have implicated 59 people, some of whom are Mexico-based suppliers.

Two leaders of the organization, Nicholas and Jennifer Sendis, were arrested in 2008, and subsequently convicted. After their arrests, prosecutors said, other family members -- including some of those arrested Thursday -- took over operations.

Officials dubbed the investigation that led to Thursday's arrests Operation Family Reunion.

The defendants arrested Thursday are:

Rogelio Sendis, 31, of Whittier, who along with his brother allegedly coordinated the distribution of methamphetamine for the organization;

Salvador Sendis, 29, of Whittier, who is Rogelio’s brother.

Angelita Sendis, 26, of Whittier, sister of the Sendis brothers, who allegedly coordinated some of the organization’s business while Rogelio Sendis was out of town;

Harry Madera, 26, of Downey, who allegedly distributed narcotics and collected drug proceeds on behalf of the Sendis organization;

David Ortiz, 27, of Whittier, who allegedly distributed narcotics and collected drug proceeds on behalf of the Sendis organization;

Daniel Zavala, 35, of Whittier, who allegedly distributed narcotics and collected drug proceeds on behalf of the Sendis organization;

Jesus Magana, 30, of  Norwalk, who allegedly distributed narcotics and collected drug proceeds on behalf of the Sendis organization;

Manuel Rivas, 31, of Whittier, who allegedly sold methamphetamine on behalf of the Sendis organization;

Paul Keesey, 42, of Santa Ana, who allegedly sold methamphetamine on behalf of the Sendis organization;

Richard Oliver, 47, of Santa Ana, who allegedly sold methamphetamine on behalf of the Sendis organization;

James Hermosillo, 34, of Hacienda Heights, who allegedly sold methamphetamine on behalf of the Sendis organization;

Antonio Sanchez, 38, of Whittier, who allegedly sold methamphetamine on behalf of the Sendis organization;

Martin Hernandez Jr., 23, of Inglewood, who allegedly transported Mexican methamphetamine from Phoenix to Los Angeles and then would transport drug proceeds back to Arizona;

Amalia Hernandez, of Inglewood, 58.

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-- Abby Sewell

 
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