BLM-California Special Agent Recognized for Investigative Excellence

On March 28, BLM-California Special Agent Brad Kent was recognized for his extraordinary commitment and dedication at the second annual Excellence in the Pursuit of Justice Award Ceremony held in San Diego.  The United States Attorney for the Southern District of California, Robert S. Brewer, Jr., acknowledged Agent Kent during the ceremony, which credits federal, state, and local law enforcement professionals who significantly contributed to the Department of Justice mission in the district.

 Special Agent Brad K is standing with his award.

Kent earned the high honor for his hard work as a case agent in a multi-agency investigation conducted as part of the Department of Justice Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces Program.  The investigation culminated in October 2014 with the arrest of Hugo Adalberto Adrian Ramirez who subsequently pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl through a family drug trafficking ring that Ramirez directed. In October 2018, Ramirez was sentenced to 210 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release.

Agent Kent and an IRS special agent partnered to lead a multi-year investigation into the family drug ring, which used a seafood restaurant as a front to ship drugs throughout the U.S.  The operation resulted in the seizure of 53 pounds of methamphetamine, 26 kilos of cocaine, 20,000 marijuana plants found growing on BLM-administered public lands, two kilos of heroin, and an entire kilo of deadly fentanyl—a few tiny grains of which can be fatal. The operation also resulted in the seizure of over $300,000 in cash, ten vehicles, 40 firearms, and the conviction of 26 co-conspirators for drug trafficking, money laundering, and firearm offenses.

An brown, plastic wrapped rectangular cube of the narcotics marked with "P-5 1045g. TREBOL" in red ink
One kilo of seized fentanyl; fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is significantly more powerful than both morphine and heroin and is incredibly dangerous to the public in even tiny quantities.

“Collaboration among law enforcement is vital to combating complex transnational criminal organizations that use America's public lands to smuggle dangerous drugs across international borders,” said Kynan Barrios, BLM-California Special Agent-In-Charge. “These actions cause environmental degradation and pose threats to public safety. The BLM is committed to ensuring these lands are safe to visit and remain healthy for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations, and we’re fortunate to have agents like Brad Kent working for the American people.”

U.S. Attorney Brewer also recognized Kent for developing a case study of the Ramirez operation to train law enforcement colleagues across the nation.  His case study has since been used by the DOJ to further instruct on investigative techniques and conducting an exemplary, proactive investigation.

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