An early-morning raid on two rural Watsonville homes landed two brothers behind bars and curtailed what authorities say was a massive drug distribution operation, much of which was hidden in a home chicken farming operation.
Back tar heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana and cocaine worth $17,000 to $20,000 on the street was seized in North Monterey County when drug agents from several local, state and federal law enforcement agencies served two search warrants early Tuesday, according to the Santa Cruz County Anti-Crime Team.
At a house at 20 Maher Rd. in Royal Oaks, agents located 455 grams of marijuana under a chicken coop in the backyard, 127 grams of black tar heroin was discovered at the bottom of a bag chicken feed and $3,400 was found in the house, according to Sgt. Eric Montalbo of the Watsonville Police Department.
At a home at 39 Boling Rd. in Las Lomas—about four miles from the first raid—drugs were reportedly hidden in the attic. Several people were detained while agents searched the home. They reported finding about 194 grams of cocaine, 93 grams of crystal methamphetamine and over $6,000 cash.
The drug raids occurred at small clusters of homes tucked into tree-covered hillsides between large agriculture fields known for growing strawberries, artichokes and lettuce.
Manuel Reyna Hidalgo was arrested at the Las Lomas home on suspicion of possessing narcotics for sale, according to Montablo.
His brother, Jose Guadalupe Hidalgo Reyna was arrested at the nearby Royal Oaks Market, where he works, on suspicion of possessing drugs for sale and a federal arrest warrant for trafficking narcotics, authorities reported.
The brothers were booked into the Monterey County Jail. Also, the Department of Homeland security placed immigration holds on both of them, according to Montablo.
All of the cash located in this case was seized pending forfeiture proceedings, authorities said.
The investigation and Tuesday's raids involved agents from the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Unified Narcotics Enforcement Team, Federal Drug Enforcement Administration, Santa Cruz County Auto Theft Task Force and Watsonville Police.