A driver who worked for a pizza-style drug distribution ring that operated out of Van Nuys and used a fleet of cars to make rapid deliveries of heroin and cocaine pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal charge.
Christian “Rambo” Elias, 21, of Santa Ana, pleaded guilty to a single felony count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. Elias faces a prison term between 10 years and life when sentenced Sept. 24 in downtown Los Angeles, prosecutors said.
Elias was among 14 people named in a December indictment targeting “Manny’s Delivery Service,” which allegedly operated in the San Fernando Valley for about 10 years, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
As one of a handful of Manny’s drivers, Elias delivered drugs to — and received payment from — the ring’s customers, using vehicles containing hidden compartments, according to the indictment. The drivers operated at the direction of delivery dispatchers, who relayed customer orders and locations.
While the service sold small quantities to telephone customers, conspirators sold larger quantities to other dealers as part of a high-volume drug ring, prosecutors alleged in court papers.
During a two-month period that began in late August, members of the ring obtained multi-pound amounts of black-tar heroin from Mexico and moved hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, according to secretly recorded conversations outlined in the indictment. Bulk narcotics were stored in a stash house, and smaller quantities of drugs were packaged and dispatched to addicts from a Van Nuys facility.
Authorities seized about 14 pounds of heroin, more than a pound of cocaine and a significant amount of cash during the takedown last year, federal prosecutors said.
Manny’s ringleader, Sigifredo Gurrola Barrientos, 40, of Sylmar, has agreed to plead guilty to a federal drug distribution charge Monday before U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson.