June 16, 2024
Authorities this week arrested 4 individuals suspected of being members of a San Fernando Valley drug ring that trafficked in cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl.

Search warrants had been executed Wednesday at 5 places within the valley, throughout which authorities discovered greater than 14 firearms, 2 kilos of methamphetamine and $153,000 in money and narcotics.

All through their investigation, authorities have seized 42 kilos of methamphetamine, 128 kilos of cocaine and 6.6 kilos of fentanyl — together with two firearms and greater than $150,000 in money. The worth of these medicine exceeds $1 million, in keeping with legislation enforcement estimates.

Arrested Wednesday morning had been 23-year-old Van Nuys resident Giselle Buraye, 35-year-old Sylmar resident Efren Meraz Jr., 41-year-old Sunland resident Max Roman-Betancourt and 36-year-old Panorama Metropolis resident Esteban Armas, in keeping with a information launch from the U.S. lawyer’s workplace for the Central District of California.

Two others, Oscar Alejandro Melendez, 50, of Van Nuys and Robert Carlton Lavilette, 68, of Ventura, are anticipated to be arraigned within the subsequent few days. A seventh suspect — Sarkis Kyurkchian, 40, of North Hollywood — stays at massive.

Sarkis Kyurkchian, 40, aka “Z,” aka “Sam,” of North Hollywood.


“Powerfully addictive medicine comparable to fentanyl and methamphetamine devastate households and communities,” U.S. Atty. Martin Estrada stated in a press release. “With these fees we now have dismantled a drug trafficking group that put earnings over individuals’s lives.”

All seven suspects have been charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute managed substances, in keeping with the U.S. lawyer’s workplace. Buraye has additionally been charged with possession and intent to distribute methamphetamine and fentanyl, in addition to distribution of fentanyl.

In response to the indictment, Buraye, Melendez and Meraz procured fentanyl tablets, meth and cocaine that they, together with Kyurkchian, gave to Lavilette and Betancourt, who then bought them on the road.

Authorities allege Buraye and Melendez would additionally promote medicine to clients.

On April 14, 2021, the 2 bought about 1,000 fentanyl tablets, in keeping with officers.

Authorities additionally say Buraye bought greater than 700 fentanyl tablets in March 2022.

Buraye and Melendez have been charged with aiding and abetting, in addition to distributing fentanyl.

Armas saved the medicine, authorities say. Throughout a search at Armas’ home in Could 2022, legislation enforcement seized roughly 5.5 kilos of fentanyl powder, 125 kilos of cocaine, 24 kilos of methamphetamine and $152,602, in keeping with courtroom paperwork.

If convicted, every defendant would face a most sentence of life in jail, with a compulsory minimal sentence of 10 years.