A federal drug task force investigation led to the indictment of a California man charged with orchestrating a methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking operation in Oklahoma.

Ricardo Perez-Rocha of Bakersfield, California, was arrested May 29 in San Diego on a sealed criminal complaint of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Perez-Rocha was then indicted June 6.

In a filing appealing Perez-Rocha’s initial bond, federal prosecutors identified him as “a senior level manager who arranges the importation of methamphetamine and other narcotics from Mexico and the subsequent redistribution of those substances across the United States to places including but not limited to Oklahoma.”

The filing also alleges Perez-Rocha is the top recipient of Mexican-originated narcotics in Bakersfield and is reportedly a known associate of high-level narcotic traffickers from Mexico. Prosecutors also state Perez-Rocha is associated with the Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel operating in Guadalajara, Ensenada and Tijuana, according to court documents.

Local, state and federal agencies on the drug task force began investigating the cartel in December 2017 and in a criminal complaint, it’s alleged the organization distributed “well over 500 grams” of methamphetamine in and around the Northern District of Oklahoma.

Multiple cooperating defendants, controlled purchases of trafficking amounts of narcotics, and confidential sources both within and outside the district led to Perez-Rocha’s indictment, according to court records.

One indicted defendant who cooperated with authorities told investigators Perez-Rocha was his primary source to distribute bulk quantities of methamphetamine to the district, often through two stash houses used to stockpile cash and narcotics in the Henryetta area, according to a criminal complaint.

Perez-Rocha reportedly traveled to Mexico more than 75 times since 2002 and stayed in the country for months at a time. The cooperating defendant also told investigators Perez-Rocha came to Oklahoma several times to pick up cash owed to him from narcotics sales.

On one of those trips, the defendant reportedly said he picked up Perez-Rocha, his girlfriend and another Mexican male only known to him as “Butcher” from the Oklahoma City Will Rogers Airport in March 2018.

They stayed briefly at the Grand Casino Hotel in Shawnee and later went to Sallisaw to look at fighting chickens, according to a criminal complaint. The defendant reportedly gave Perez-Rocha $40,000 in cash, which was then used to purchase the fighting chickens.

When appearing before a magistrate judge May 31, Perez-Rocha’s bond was set at $100,000, which prosecutors appealed June 7 asking for him to be detained.

Prosecutors cited Perez-Rocha’s flight risk and danger to the public in the motion. Chief Judge John Dowdell granted the motion to detain the same day, according to court records.

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Stetson Payne 918-732-8135


Twitter: @stetson__payne

Staff Writer

Stetson covers breaking news, general assignment and other stories. He previously worked at the Enterprise-Journal in Mississippi. He is from Broken Arrow and graduated with a journalism degree from Oklahoma State University. Phone: 918-581-8466

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