In the past, we’ve presented various examples of people fucking themselves up legally by doing dirt and taking it to social media. If you didn’t know, police scour social media sites, too, looking for illegal activity and can invade accounts you believe are “private.” Jesus “Ricky” Palomera of Seattle found himself in such a predicament. He stands accused of running a massive meth ring from Facebook Messenger while on the run in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Palomera also stands accused of two killings, including one Los Angeles who vanished into thin air two years ago.
Palomera was regarded by his conspirators as a good businessman who provided meth at lower prices than other traffickers, according to investigators’ statements spread across several prosecutions dating back to 2011. One informant told an ATF handler that Palomera’s operation stretched from California to Alaska.
Palomera fled to Mexico in 2012 and remained there until early July, when he was extradited to face a host of charges filed against him at U.S. District Court in Tacoma. Investigators contend Palomera, though absent physically, retained a virtual presence in the drug ring, running it through Facebook and other messaging services.
That extradition came eight months after police arrested a Tacoma man described by investigators as Palomera’s debt collector, Miguel Logan Martinez. Martinez was sentenced Friday to six years in prison for gun and drug offenses stemming from an October traffic stop, though investigators’ statements indicate he had been under investigation for far longer.
“ATF has received information that Martinez was a person upon whom Palomera relied for the collection of debts and distribution of methamphetamine,” a Bureau of Alcohol, Tabaco, Firearms and Explosives special agent said in a sworn statement.
The agent went on to assert the obvious – “drug debt collection often entails the use of firearms and threats or acts of violence.” Agents investigating Palomera claim Oscar Macias lost his life to one such act of violence.
Macias, then 39, was last seen July 20, 2014, a month after he and another man were stopped by police with a shipment of meth prosecutors say belonged to Palomera.
Investigators pursuing Palomera have not accused any of his associates of killing Macias. The father of two is listed as a missing person, though the Los Angeles Police Department homicide unit is investigating his disappearance.
Palomera would facilitate his business in Tacoma through Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, where he would dole out directions to crew members, court new custies and collect payments through money orders.
Furthermore, Palermo is accused of weapons dealing:
In 2011, ATF agents investigating a drug and weapons trafficking ring were told that men in Tacoma could connect them with grenades and machine guns. Those claims didn’t prove out but investigators were able to buy 18 weapons, including a golden .50-caliber Desert Eagle handgun and several assault rifles. Investigators claim Palomera provided an AR-15 rifle.
An informant was introduced to a purported gun dealer known to investigators only as “Raul.” Investigators claim that that man in turn connected the informant with Javier Hernandez-Godinez, his nephew Jorge Hernandez-Godinez and Palomera.
Writing the court, an ATF agent said Palomera during a November 2011 gun sale described being robbed of a pound of methamphetamine. According to the ATF agent’s statement, Palomera went on to explain how an associate recovered the stolen meth.
“Palomera went to (his partner’s) house to get the drugs back,” the ATF agent said. “In the house, Palomera saw the body of the robber wrapped in plastic bags. (He) told Palomera that he would dump the body in a river.”
Palomera is alleged to have told the undercover agent he could provide him with grenades as well as a rifle-mounted grenade launcher.
According to charging papers, the group’s gun supplier Alicia Lee Robertson claimed she could provide explosives obtained from a man in the military. It doesn’t appear Robertson could good on the boast. The guns she sold had been stolen; she is currently serving a 4-year prison term.
Jorge and Javier Hernandez-Godinez ultimately admitted to gun and methamphetamine offenses, and both are serving federal prison terms. Palomera was charged alongside them, but evaded capture during a 2012 takedown operation and fled.
In all, 11 people tied to Palomera have been locked up with stiff sentences. Looks like Palomera faces the same fate. He has been charged with 17 counts of drug charges, the most serious of which carries a mandatory sentence of 20 years. He is due in court in early 2017. Palomera has pleaded not guilty.