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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

For Immediate Release

Friday, November 12, 2021

Santa Barbara Methamphetamine Distributor Sentenced to 180 Months in Prison

LOS ANGELES —The culmination of a three-month investigation resulted in a Santa Barbara methamphetamine distributor being sentenced on November 8, 2021 to 180 months in federal prison for narcotics violations. Cesar Castillo-Pena, 35, of San Bernardino, California, was sentenced by United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner.

On July 28, 2021, Castillo-Pena pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of methamphetamine, admitting he sold just over 3 kilograms of methamphetamine during a transaction one year ago.

During a joint investigation between the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Los Angeles Field Division; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Los Angeles Field Division; and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, Cesar Castillo-Pena was identified as a multi-pound methamphetamine distributor in Santa Barbara County.

On November 5, 2020, investigators conducted a federal arrest of Castillo-Pena while he was engaged in a narcotics transaction in Carpinteria, California. Following the arrest of Castillo-Pena, approximately 3 kilograms of methamphetamine and a handgun were seized.

“The strong law enforcement partnership between our local and federal agencies was instrumental in the success of this case,” said Resident Agent in Charge of the DEA Ventura Office William Torrence. “We will continue the battle against drug traffickers who pollute our communities with illegal drugs and line their pockets with ill-gotten gains.”

“ATF partners with our local and federal law enforcement agencies to identify, investigate, and arrest those who are responsible for violent crimes,” said the ATF Special Agent in Charge Monique Villegas. “This collaboration of resources with DEA and the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office resulted in a significant prison sentence for a criminal who was removed from our community, making for safer neighborhoods.”

"This case should send a strong message to anyone who would deal dangerous and illegal drugs in Santa Barbara County,” said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown. “It is also an excellent example of the superb working relationship we have with our DEA partners. Thanks to the combined efforts of our agencies, this armed drug dealer was apprehended, convicted and will not be peddling any more poisonous misery for at least a decade."

Los Angeles Field Division