Strawberry-flavored pink cocaine
Drug enforcement agents have arrested three valley men on charges of distributing candy-flavored cocaine.
The Drug Enforcement Administration in cooperation with valley drug enforcement task forces began an investigation 10 months ago into allegations that Gustavo Banuelos, 47, of Modesto was distributing large amounts of cocaine.
According to DEA Special Agent Casey McEnry, a a DEA undercover agent made more than six drug buys of flavored cocaine and unadulterated cocaine from Banuelos over several months. The DEA says Banuelos wanted approximately $600-$700 per ounce for "regular" cocaine and approximately $1,100 to $1,400 per ounce for the flavored, colored cocaine. The "cinnamon" flavored cocaine was light tan; the "strawberry" flavored was pink; and there was white cocaine that smelled like coconuts.
McEnry said agents set up a meeting to buy drugs from Banuelos at Modesto's Vintage Faire Mall last Thursday. Agents noticed he was followed in a separate vehicle driven by Samuel Nungaray, 23, of Manteca. Upon completion of a cocaine transaction with agents, Banuelos and Nungaray was arrested. The DEA says a search of Nungaray's vehicle turned up 1 ounce of cocaine, a digital scale and a loaded .38 caliber semi-automatic pistol. Nungaray was acting as protection for Banuelos during the drug transaction, according to court documents.
Search warrants were also served at the Modesto residences of Banuelos and his suspected supplier, 27-year-old Eduardo Rosillo, said McEnry. Approximately 1 ounce of flavored cocaine, more than 2 and a half pounds of suspected methamphetamine and one illegal sawed-off rifle were recovered from Banuelos' home, according to McEnry.
At Rosillo's home, McEnry said agents seized more than 4 pounds, 9 ounces of cocaine from throughout the house. Also, three guns were recovered and Rosillo was arrested.
Banuelos was charged with distributing at least 500 grams of cocaine. Rosillo and Nungaray were charged with conspiracy and with possession with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of cocaine. Convictions on the charges carry 5- to 40- year prison sentences, $2 million fines and at least four years of supervised release.
Of the arrests, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gordon Taylor said, "Attempting to lure new, younger customers to a dangerous drug by adding candy 'flavors' is an unconscionable marketing technique. Cocaine is cocaine and jail time is jail time, no matter how you flavor it."