A Sacramento man was sentenced to 12 years in prison Friday after being found guilty of operating a “large-scale, multiple-kilogram” cocaine trafficking organization and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Court documents indicate that in 2014, Benjamin Macias, 40, supplied cocaine to another Sacramento man, Sergio Ambriz, 29, who then sold it to an undercover law enforcement agent in El Dorado County and Sacramento.
A confidential source tipped off authorities to this case, according to court documents.
“The (confidential source) related that Ambriz was distributing methamphetamine and heroin in the Sacramento area and had displayed ounce to pound quantities of these substances during 2014,” Macias’ criminal complaint reads. “The (confidential source) stated that Ambriz was a heavy gambler and also distributed drugs at various casinos throughout the region which he frequented, primarily Red Hawk Casino in El Dorado County, California.”
An undercover law enforcement agent met with Ambriz at a Carl’s Junior on Broadway in September of 2014, where he posed as a customer in search of methamphetamine. He proceeded to purchase a quarter pound of methamphetamine from Ambriz for $1,400.
A few days later, Ambriz was arrested after authorities found he was in violation of his parole. He was at the Sacramento County jail until November of 2014. Shortly after his release, Ambriz reached out to the undercover law enforcement agent indicating he could provide more drugs.
The undercover law enforcement agent agreed, court documents indicate, and met with Ambriz in the parking lot of the AMF Bowling Alley in Sacramento on Dec. 16, 2014. However, when Ambriz arrived, he said he did not have the drugs and needed to order more. A short while later, Macias drove up and handed Ambriz 68 grams of cocaine in a clear plastic baggy.
Responding law enforcement agencies surveyed Macias’s car, which led to his identification. Macias is originally from Salinas and he has been validated by Monterey and Merced counties as a Sureno gang member. His criminal history is detailed, and includes charges like assault with a deadly weapon, making terrorist threats and evading/resisting an officer.
In 2013, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Gang Impact Team served search warrants at five Sacramento residences that were believed to contain marijuana growing operations. All five residences were owned by Macias’ mother, who later said she knew he was growing marijuana in the homes, according to court documents.
When officers served a search warrant at Macias’ current home, they found Macias along with 150 pounds of marijuana, firearms and cash. Macias and his girlfriend, Rachel Regan, were arrested on multiple weapons and drug charges. Macias left jail on bail shortly after being arrested.
Ambriz and Macias met with the undercover agent a series of other times between February and May of 2015 in order to purchase drugs.
The undercover agent agreed to meet with Macias and Ambriz for a fifth time on June 9, 2015, but shortly before they were scheduled to meet, Macias sped away from the scene at 90 miles per hour, according to court records.
While he was speeding down westbound Highway 50 near El Dorado Hills, Macias was spotted driving erratically and sped through an intersection without stopping at a red light. Law enforcement officials arrested him in Gold Run later that day.
Upon searching Macias’ car, they found a fully-loaded Ruger 9 mm pistol and cocaine. The same day, agents found ammunition, a 35-round magazine and more cocaine at his home.
Ambriz pled guilty to using a cell phone to help facilitate a drug trafficking offense and was sentenced to four years in prison on Nov. 4, 2016.
Macias could have faced up to 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine.