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Heroin 'kingpin' jailed, awaits extradition

March 29, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A drug lord accused of operating the largest drug ring in Ventura County is behind bars in Mexico awaiting extradition.He's known as Mexico's 'king of heroin.' Nicknamed Don Pepe, 36-year-old Jose Antonio Medina is now behind bars waiting to be extradited back to Ventura County. He's accused of running a massive multimillion dollar heroin ring, stretching from San Jose to San Diego and south of the border.

"This case is ground breaking, because to our knowledge, it is the first time local law enforcement has investigated and prosecuted a drug trafficking organization of this nature that is operating deep within the country of Mexico," said Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten.

Monday, Ventura County authorities showed off a small sampling of the stash seized during a lengthy and complex investigation. Investigators said the king of heroin moved more than 440 pounds of heroin a month. They also said that he has been in business for the last three years but think it may have been as long as a decade.

"To date, over a half of a million doses of heroin have been seized as a result of this investigation," said Ventura County Deputy District Attorney Ryan Wright.

Authorities said wire taps and surveillance of two midlevel dealers in Downy and Oxnard led to the seizure of 130 pounds of heroin in 2008 and straight to the drug kingpin himself.

"Don Pepe was intercepted talking to both Alvarez and Ramirez and giving very detailed instructions regarding how to package, divide and distribute heroin to destinations all up and down California," said Wright.

The DA says he is confident that Medina will be extradited to Ventura County. The process may take weeks or months but authorities say that Median's arrest is already having a major impact.

"It has dramatically weakened what is perhaps the largest drug trafficking organization to ever operate in the county of Ventura," said Totten.