Sheriff deputies arrest 9, seeking 5 other in large drug bust

March 17, 2018

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson announced a large drug bust — valued at about $1.5 million — as well as the breakup of a methamphetamine and heroin ring in San Luis Obispo County. Parkinson said the drug ring originated in Mexico and had multiple cells operating throughout the United States, particularly in Southern California. [Cal Coast Times]

Though most of the action in the case did not occur recently, Parkinson, who is currently running for reelection, held a press conference Thursday in which he revealed large quantities of seized methamphetamine and heroin. As part of the case, investigators seized slightly less than $1 million worth of methamphetamine and heroin, as well as $500,000 worth of cocaine.

Thus far, authorities have caught nine suspects, while another five remain on the loose. While most of the suspects are listed as San Luis Obispo County residents, only one is currently in SLO County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office website.

Parkinson said the investigation began in Nov. 2016 with the arrest of Jaime Vega, 45, of Paso Robles, who was thought to be the ringleader of the operation. CEnrique Garcia, 25, of Cambria, was then believed to have taken over leadership of the drug distribution ring.

In April 2017, authorities stopped two members of the organization, Jesus Corona Farias and Adrian Contreras Aguilar, in San Bernardino County with 13 pounds of methamphetamine.

Investigators believe that, around the time of the San Bernardino bust, Garcia fled to Mexico, and Garcia’s girlfriend, 22-year-old Gabriela Bucio of Cambria, assumed leadership of the drug network.

Ultimately, authorities seized 63 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated value of $850,000 and three pounds of heroin with an estimated value of $136,000. The approximately $500,000, or nearly 28 pounds, of cocaine was confiscated following an investigation by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department task force.

Other agencies involved in the case include the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, California Highway Patrol, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Glendale Police Department and SLO County District Attorney’s Office and probation department.


The nine suspects who have already been caught are:

Jaime Vega, 45, Paso Robles

Daniel Clark Vanbenthuysen, 40, Atascadero

Denise Lopez, 19, Los Angeles

Adrian Contreras Aguilar, 20, Paso Robles

Jesus Corona Farias, 28, Cambria

Peter Paul Mascorro, 50, Morro Bay

Thomas Gibson, 71, San Miguel

Michael James McGardwell, 64, Atascadero

William Martin, 53, San Miguel


The five suspects with outstanding warrants are:

Enrique Garcia, 25, Cambria

Eduard Sanchez, 20, Los Angeles

Gabriela Bucio, 22, Cambria

Kimberly Ann Fisher, 50, San Luis Obispo

Norma Bucio, 20, Cambria

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Good ruse in light of all the recent bad press regarding the death of Andrew Holland at the SLO County Jail.

They may traffic in narcotics, but at least they promote diversity in hiring their staff. Colleges and politicians should be proud.

Death penalty warranted here?

Sure. If you like wasting tax dollars that is. While the idea might make some feel good; we all know we’re not going to kill anyone in a timely manner, even if it were legal.

Automatic appeals for death penalty cases cost money. Lot’s of it.

Unless you’re proposing we toss them from Helicopters like the Philippine dictator? Or chop off their hands (drug users) or heads (drug dealers) like the Saudi’s do? Then that is cost effective–but a tad Un-American as it lacks due process.