A documented gang member from Desert Hot Springs who’s accused of using social media to post photos of himself with guns and to market drugs for sale is facing an Aug. 31 trial date in federal court in Riverside.
Robert Lorenzo Lee Ramos, 24, was indicted in April on one count each of possessing a controlled substance — cocaine — with the intent to distribute, possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and possessing firearms and ammunition in affecting interstate of foreign commerce.
Ramos, who remains in federal custody without bail, was initially taken into custody Feb. 3 by Riverside County sheriff’s deputies following the execution of a search warrant near Sky Valley that yielded a cache of guns, various drugs and cash, according to the sheriff’s department.
He was arrested along with Tylor Britten Murray, 27, of Desert Hot Springs during the law enforcement operation that targeted homes in the 19000 and 18000 blocks of Ford Avenue.
Both men were charged with various felonies in Riverside County Superior Court and pleaded not guilty. But the charges against Ramos were later dismissed so that the U.S. Attorney’s Office could prosecute him at the federal level, a Riverside County District Attorney’s Office spokesman confirmed to City News Service on Monday.
According to an affidavit prepared by FBI Special Agent Krista L. Gonzalez and filed with the court, the investigation into Ramos centered around a series of social media posts where he allegedly posted photos of drugs and guns.
One of the posts showed Xanax pills; another had pictures of marijuana and various prices associated with the product; and another post allegedly showed the defendant with a ski mask and gun.
According to the affidavit, sheriff’s deputies seized nearly an ounce of cocaine, 399 Xanax pills, nearly 6 1/2 pounds of marijuana, $7,600 in cash, several guns and other items.
The affidavit made no reference to Murray, who previously posted $2 million bail and is scheduled to appear at the Larson Justice Center in Indio on Aug. 26.
The sheriff’s department reported back in February that its investigators seized more than $150,000 in cash and 46 firearms that did not belong to the suspects, “including multiple firearms that had altered serial numbers or were illegally manufactured and absent of serial numbers,” as part of its investigation into both men. Some of the weapons were previously reported stolen, according to the department.
Murray, who does not have any documented felony convictions in Riverside County, has two unresolved felony cases involving various charges, including vehicle theft, possessing controlled substances while armed and carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle.
Ramos has a previous felony conviction for assault with a gun.