For Immediate Release
Two California Men Charged With Selling Drugs and Guns Over the Internet
NEWARK, N.J. – Two California men were arrested for conspiring to sell methamphetamine and fentanyl and to unlawfully transport numerous firearms via the internet, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
Angelo Chavez, 22, of Stockton, California, and Phillip Luevano, 21, of Manteca, California, were arrested on March 22, 2022, in California and charged by complaint with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and fentanyl, conspiracy to unlawfully transport firearms, and possession and transportation of unregistered firearms. The defendants are scheduled to appear today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Barnes in the Eastern District of California.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From August 2020 and December 2021, undercover law enforcement agents began communicating with Chavez and Luevano via a social media platform, where the defendants advertised for sale various narcotics and firearms. Agents made numerous purchases from Chavez and Luevano, including
- 150 pills of oxycodone purchased from Luevano, which contained fentanyl and another synthetic opioid;
- 50 grams of heroin purchased from Chavez;
- 100 grams of MDMA (ecstasy) purchased from Luevano;
- 100 grams of methamphetamine purchased from Chavez and Luevano;
- a Springfield Armory Model 1911 A1 .45 caliber firearm, an AK-47 firearm, and an AR-15 firearm with “We The People” engraved on the barrel were purchased from Chavez and Luevano;
- Numerous additional firearms were purchased from Chavez including: a Glock 27 .40 caliber firearm, an Ithaca sawed-off 12-guage shotgun, a Springfield XD45 .45 caliber firearm, approximately 5 different AR-15 firearms, and numerous auto sear switches which convert a semi-automatic firearm into a fully automatic firearm; and
- An additional AR-15 firearm was purchased from Luevano.
Chavez and Luevano were paid mostly in cryptocurrency, and mailed the drugs and guns from addresses in California to New Jersey.
The count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine carries a mandatory minimum of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5 million. The count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl carries a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million. The count of conspiracy to unlawfully transport firearms carries a statutory maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The count of possession of unregistered firearms carries a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Newark, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Damon Wood, Philadelphia Division, and special agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Newark Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey L. Matthews, with the investigation leading to today’s arrests.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vera Varshavsky of the U.S. Attorney’s Cybercrime Unit in Newark.
The charges and accusations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.