RIVERSIDE - The leader of a drug trafficking organization based in the Inland Empire was sentenced today to 14 years in prison for his role in importing heroin, cocaine from Mexico and distributing it to residents of the Inland Empire, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Salvador Gonzalez-Chavez, 32, Fontana, was convicted last September of conspiracy to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, heroin, stated officials.
Gonzalez-Chavez was the leader of a drug trafficking organization involving at least 19 other co-conspirators, stated DEA officials.
During the sentencing, lawyers argued that the extreme dangers and addictiveness of heroin were best illustrated by an intercepted phone call that occurred on August 31, 2011 between a prospective buyer and a co-conspirator working for Gonzalez-Chavez's drug-trafficking organization.
Federal officials stated that the prospective buyer tried to gain the co-conspirator's trust so that the co-conspirator would sell heroin to the buyer. To achieve this, the prospective buyer told the co-conspirator that the buyer was a friend of a certain individual -- an individual whom authorities knew had died of a heroin overdose on April 5, 2011 in Redlands at the buyer's house, stated authorities.
At that point, the co-conspirator's concerns were alleviated, and the two agreed to meet up to conduct the heroin transaction.