Two-Year Investigation Brings Big Bust


On October 4th, 2022, members of the Coalinga Police Department, Agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), officers with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Crisis Response Teams from Avenal, Corcoran and Pleasant Valley State Prisons and K-9 Officers with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) wrapped up an almost 2-year federal investigation involving the sales of firearms and narcotics involving Bulldog criminal street gang members.

During the operation one of the main suspects, Coalinga resident Juan Carlos Ruiz Jr., led officers on a 10-mile pursuit through dirt roads and orchards before wrecking his vehicle and fleeing on foot into an orchard near Lassen Avenue and SR-198.  With the assistance of the CHP helicopter Ruiz was taken into custody without incident.  Ruiz will be facing federal charges for the sales of firearms and narcotics.

Officers served federal search warrants at 4 different locations within the City of Coalinga for weapons and narcotics and another in Tulare County.  Those search warrants led to the recovery of
• Three firearms
• Ammunition
• Firearm magazines
• More than two-pounds of methamphetamine
• Narcotic paraphernalia. 

Coalinga residents, Vicki Sanchez and Alma Sanchez were arrested and will face state charges for narcotic, firearm, and evidence destruction related charges.  Coalinga residents, Michael Ackerman and Antonio Pulido Jr, were later arrested for their involvement in this investigation and will be facing state charges for narcotics violations.

During the course of the investigation, officers and agents conducted several controlled buys for several pounds of methamphetamine and numerous firearms.  Several other search warrants have been written and served throughout the Central Valley.  Those search warrants resulted in the seizure of at least 5 other firearms, about 153 gallons of liquid methamphetamine and about 25-30 pounds of “crystal” methamphetamine, from different methamphetamine labs that were linked to cartels in Mexico.

More than 153 gallons of liquid meth was found.