During 2012, the DA's Narcotics Division continued its extraordinary cooperation with other law enforcement agencies to prosecute illegal drug-related offenses. Led by Division Chief Tom Manning and Assistant Chief Steve Walter, notable prosecutions during the year included:
Operation Knight Stalker
In 2010, the Drug Enforcement Administration targeted a newly formed drug trafficking organization known as The Knights Templar (Los Caballeros Templarios). This organization had recently splintered off from the notorious La Familia Michoacana drug cartel. After extensive investigation, the DEA in conjunction with state and local law enforcement agencies initiated Operation Knight Stalker beginning in March 2011. The San Diego District Attorney's Office is currently prosecuting 28 defendants broken up into 12 separate cases from this investigation. In addition, approximately 152 pounds of methamphetamine, 40 pounds of cocaine, 15 pounds of heroin, $50,000 dollars and one semi-automatic handgun was seized. Across California, the seizure totals indicated a severe loss to the Knights Templar organization. Deputy District Attorneys Rori Robinson, Allison Fomon and Michael McCann have worked collectively on prosecuting the Knights Templar organization.
The twelve cases currently prosecuted by the San Diego District Attorney's office range from border and checkpoint seizures, to traffic stops, stash houses, and drugs buried in backyards. Arrests were made as far away as Los Angeles, Downey, Santa Ana, San Clemente and Manteca. The majority of the defendants being prosecuted face a range of five to 18 years in prison.
Operation Cruel Summer
Between March 2012 and September 2012, the DEA San Diego Violent Trafficker Team and the San Diego Sheriff's Department targeted a drug trafficking organization in Fallbrook that controlled the narcotics distribution in that community for several years. During the course of the investigation, operatives conducted 50 "buy-walk" operations and made 48 arrests. Thirty-one pounds of cocaine, 25 pounds of methamphetamine, 40 pounds of marijuana and 11 ounces of heroin were seized. Additionally, they recovered 35 firearms and more than $165,000 in U.S. currency. Seventeen of the individuals arrested were prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office, and 20 were prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Terri Perez, George Loyd, and Andrija Lopez of the North County JUDGE (Jurisdictions United for Drug and Gang Enforcement) Unit.
The division continues to direct San Diego County's JUDGE Program. The program consists of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers who target high-risk felons. In addition, the Narcotics Division handles federal and state asset forfeiture matters and assists law enforcement with proactive projects in specific high-crime areas.