Please E-mail suggested additions, comments and/or corrections to Kent@MoreLaw.Com.

Help support the publication of case reports on MoreLaw

Date: 10-19-2023

Case Style:

United States of America v. Alfredo Lomas Navarrete

Case Number: 21-cr-2960

Judge: Andrew G. Schopler

Court: United States District Court for the Southern District of California (San Diego County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: \United States Attorney’s Office in San Diego

Defendant's Attorney:

Click Here For The Best San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer Directory

Description: San Diego, California criminal defense lawyer represented the Defendant charged with supplying hundreds of high-powered weapons and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition to the Sinaloa Cartel.

This case was part of a long-running investigation targeting the Valenzuela Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO), which is a significant component of the Sinaloa Cartel. The Valenzuela TCO is one of the largest importers of cocaine into the United States. The TCO sources cocaine and other controlled substances (including fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana) from South America and Mexico, transports the drugs to multiple locations along the U.S.-Mexico border using commercial trucking companies, smuggles the narcotics into the country, and distributes them throughout the U.S. The TCO then smuggles the bulk cash proceeds from its drug trafficking activities back to the TCO’s leadership in Mexico.

According to court records, throughout 2020, the Valenzuela TCO, including one of its leaders, Jorge Alberto Valenzuela Valenzuela (“Jorge”), was engaged in violent conflict with another component of the Sinaloa Cartel led by Ivan Archivaldo Guzman-Salazar. During this conflict, Jorge’s brother and previous TCO leader, Gabriel Valenzuela-Valenzuela, was killed. This led the Valenzuela TCO to procure large quantities of firearms, ammunition, tactical gear, armored vehicles, and ballistic vests. A considerable number of these items were sourced from within the United States and clandestinely smuggled into Mexico, using numerous arms trafficking networks.

During the multi-year investigation, agents identified Alfredo Lomas Navarrete as a major firearms trafficker for the TCO. Agents recovered hundreds of messages between Jorge and Lomas in which they discussed firearms trafficking. Lomas worked closely with Jorge and other high-ranking organization members to supply hundreds of firearms to the TCO. These firearms ranged from .50 caliber rifles, submachine guns, and grenade launchers, to assault rifles (AK-47s, AR-15s, FN SCARs) and handguns. In addition to the weapons, Lomas and his co-conspirators supplied tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition to the TCO. Some of these weapons and ammunition were acquired in the United States, including in California, Arizona, and Nevada, and then smuggled through the Ports of Entry in San Diego and Arizona into Mexico

To date, this investigation has resulted in the charging of 109 defendants and the seizure of approximately 2,000 kilograms of cocaine and fentanyl, over $16 million in cash, and 21,000 rounds of ammunition.

Lomas pleaded guilty in April 2023 to conspiring to import cocaine, distribute cocaine, commit money laundering, and to smuggle goods from the United States.

“The amount of cash, ammunition, and narcotics seized in this case is staggering,” said U.S. Attorney Tara McGrath. “The collaboration in this case sends a clear message that the U.S. Attorney’s Office will attack every facet of drug trafficking organizations from money to drugs to firearms. We will stay after it for as long as it takes to bring them to justice.”

“The Venezuelan transnational criminal organization has brought death and suffering to countless people through their once prosperous criminal enterprise,” said Chad Plantz, special agent in charge for HSI San Diego. “The sentencing of this firearms trafficker sends a resounding message to traffickers and criminals around the world that HSI and the law enforcement community will vehemently pursue those who seek to harm not only Americans, but humanity as a whole with their brutality and deadly drugs.”

“Drug cartels use drug proceeds to purchase weapons and ammunition, fueling violence in our communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Shelly Howe. “DEA and our federal, state, and local partners will continue to hold drug traffickers and the cartels responsible for the carnage and destruction they cause.”

“The sentencing of Mr. Navarrete is a major milestone in federal law enforcement’s efforts to disrupt and dismantle illegal trafficking operations of all kinds,” said FBI San Diego Special Agent in Charge, Stacey Moy. “We are proud to support our law enforcement partners in all efforts that target and take down crime organizations that threaten the citizens of the United States of America.”

“Mr. Navarrete’s enablement of violence on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border is over,” said Special Agent in Charge Tyler Hatcher, IRS Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office. “Crime leaves a money trail, and when we pool our resources we are able to find the evidence necessary to lead to conviction. Navarrete is going to prison because of a well-coordinated joint investigation we are proud to have been part of.”

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew J. Sutton and Mikaela Weber.

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Strike Force Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations.

DEFENDANT Case Number 21-cr-2960-AGS

Alfredo Lomas Navarrete Age: 33 Culiacan, Mexico


International Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine for Purpose of Unlawful Importation, in violation of Title 21 U.S.C. §§ 959, 960 and 963.

Maximum Penalty: Mandatory minimum 10 years and up to life in prison, $10 million fine.

Conspiracy to Import Cocaine, in violation of Title 21 U.S.C. §§ 952, 960 and 963.

Maximum Penalty: Mandatory minimum 10 years and up to life in prison, $10 million fine.

Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, in violation of Title 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846.

Maximum Penalty: Mandatory minimum 10 years and up to life in prison, $10 million fine.

Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. 1956(h).

Maximum Penalty: Twenty years in prison, a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the monetary instrument or funds involved.

Conspiracy to Smuggle Goods, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. §§ 371 and 554(a).

Maximum Penalty: Five years in prison, fine of $250,000.


Homeland Security Investigations

Drug Enforcement Administration

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation

United States Marshals Service

Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations

Customs and Border Protection, Office of Border Patrol

Department of Justice, Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces

Department of Justice, Office of Enforcement Operations

Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department

San Diego Police Department

Border Crime Suppression Team

San Diego County District Attorney’s Office

Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:


Find a Lawyer


Find a Case