A suspected methamphetamine dealer and four others were arrested Monday during an FBI-led investigation in Palm Springs.
Tylor Britten Murray, 27, was taken into federal custody on an arrest warrant at his home in the 1000 block of Deepak Road, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller and court records.
Four other people were arrested during the operation “based on probable cause,” Eimiller said. She said they are expected to face criminal charges locally, not at the federal level. Two of them possibly had outstanding warrants, she said. Riverside County sheriff’s deputies were seen escorting handcuffed suspects from the scene.
Murray was charged last week with one count of distributing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and was scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Riverside Monday afternoon.
FBI personnel descended on the Deepak Road address early Monday for two reasons, according to an affidavit prepared by FBI Special Agent Krista L. Gonzalez. First, to arrest Murray, and second, to collect evidence related to an ongoing drug and illegal firearm investigation involving Murray and his roommate, Hector Mayorga, according to the document. The search warrant targeted vehicles owned by both men, along with the house.
Mayorga was arrested Monday on a state probation violation, Eimiller said.
According to the affidavit, the federal investigation into Murray stemmed from a search warrant that was served near Sky Valley on Feb. 3, when Riverside County sheriff’s deputies allegedly seized a cache of guns, various drugs and a large quantity of cash.
Murray was arrested along with Robert Lorenzo Lee Ramos, 24, during that law enforcement operation, which targeted homes in the 19000 block of Ford Avenue and the 18000 block of Ford Avenue near Sky Valley.
During the February search, sheriff’s deputies discovered 46 firearms that did not belong to the suspects, including some with altered serial numbers, sheriff’s Sgt. Paul Heredia said at the time. Some of the weapons were previously reported stolen, he said.
They also found about $150,000 in cash, Heredia said.
Both men were charged in Riverside County Superior Court and have pleaded not guilty.
Murray posted $2 million bond in the case, in which he was charged with 13 felony counts, including four counts each of possessing a firearm despite being prohibited due to a prior firearm-related misdemeanor conviction and possessing a silencer, along with three counts of willful child cruelty and sentence-enhancing allegations of allegedly committing the crimes while on bail in several separate cases.
Meanwhile, Ramos was indicted in April in federal court on one count each of possessing a controlled substance — cocaine — with the intent to distribute, possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and possessing firearms and ammunition in affecting interstate of foreign commerce.
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office previously told City News Service that state charges against Ramos were dismissed so the U.S. Attorney’s Office could prosecute him at the federal level. It was not immediately clear whether prosecutors would go the same route with Murray.
According to the affidavit, the FBI began investigating Mayorga when a woman was allegedly caught attempting to drive about $18,000 worth of methamphetamine and fentanyl through a U.S. Customs and Border Protection checkpoint south of Indio. Murray was implicated in the subsequent investigation.
The driver, identified only as “E.L.” in the affidavit, told officers at the checkpoint that Mayorga paid her $800 to drive the load to the Deeptak Road address, as she had several times before.
The woman also allegedly told investigators that she saw methamphetamine and firearms in Murray’s closet at the Deepak Road address, the affidavit says, and that Murray would buy the drugs from Mayorga, who obtained his supplies from Mexico.
FBI agents used a confidential informant to allegedly buy both drugs and illegal firearms from Murray three times in June and July, according to the affidavit.
Murray, who does not have any documented felony convictions in Riverside County, has two unresolved felony cases involving various charges, including vehicle theft, possessing controlled substances while armed and carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle.
Ramos has a previous felony conviction for assault with a gun.
Additional information about Mayorga’s criminal history was not immediately available.