Drug dealer admits conspiring to sell drugs on the Central Coast

March 4, 2024


A 40-year-old man pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiring with a Santa Maria man to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine and heroin on the Central Coast, according to federal prosecutors.

From Oct. 2016 through Jan. 2017, Jose Luis Zambrano of Bakersfield sold a pound of methamphetamine and nearly 12 ounces of heroin in four separate transactions to 49-year-old Manuel Teodoro Aros of Santa Maria. The men utilized intimidation tactics in their drug dealings, such as carrying guns and wearing body armor.

Through the use of a wiretap, federal investigators successfully seized another 2.5 pounds of methamphetamine Zamnarano had supplied Aroz in March 2017.  The wiretap also led to the June 2017 seizure of another 4 ounces of heroin and nearly 6 pounds of methamphetamine which was in intended for Zambrano.

In May 2022, Zambrano was convicted in Kern County Superior Court for solicitation to commit murder regarding the 2017 murder of a man outside a Family Dollar store in Bakersfield. Zambrano organized the murder of 41-year-old Carlos Munoz, who Zambrano believed had robbed him.

Aros pleaded guilty to conspiring with Zambrano and was sentenced to 13 years and eight months in prison.

Zambrano is scheduled to be sentenced on June 17 for conspiring to distribute narcotic. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison, a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison and a $10 million fine.

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An appreciative ‘thank you’ and congratulations to Kern County authorities and the federal folks working this case. I’d be willing to bet that there are cartel connections involved in this story, although it sounds like Zambrano and Aros were rather small fish in the cartel aquarium. When it takes 5 to 7 years to work a case like this to its conclusion, it’s a pretty clear and disheartening indication that Law Enforcement will never catch up and keep pace with the drug dealing death merchants pumping poison into our society.

Welcome to wonderful Santa Maria, drug capital of the Central Coast.