A member of the Bulldogs street gang is headed to federal prison after being found guilty on drug and human trafficking charges Thursday.
Filiberto “Beto” Chavez, 37, was found guilty of distributing and possessing methamphetamine, and conspiracy to engage in interstate travel for prostitution. A federal grand jury also convicted Chavez on two counts of promoting prostitution.
“It excites me to see ruthless gang members removed from our society, especially those like Filiberto Chavez who treat women as property through violent acts of sex trafficking. Filiberto Chavez and his fellow conspirators have proven they belong behind bars.” — Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer
Chavez is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill on Aug. 5. Chavez faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison.
Federal, State, and Local Teamwork
“This verdict is the result of law enforcement partners at the federal, state and local level working as one to pursue criminal gangs and their associates,” said U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott. “We will continue to work tirelessly together to protect our communities and to hold accountable those who threaten our safety.”
Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp identified Chavez and his convicted co-defendants as high-ranking members of the Lewis Street Bulldogs.
Read more about the takedown of the gang’s leadership at this link.
“I congratulate U.S. Attorney Scott and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly Sanchez, Jeffrey Spivak, and Thomas Newman on an outstanding job bringing Filiberto Chavez to justice,” Smittcamp said. “This conviction is yet another example of how cooperation between our local law enforcement agencies, the District Attorney and the United States Attorney works for the people of Fresno County.”
Said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer: “It excites me to see ruthless gang members removed from our society, especially those like Filiberto Chavez who treat women as property through violent acts of sex trafficking. Filiberto Chavez and his fellow conspirators have proven they belong behind bars.”
When Chavez and others were arrested in September 2017, Dyer called them “scum of the earth” for trafficking in women and girls, some in their early teens.
Chavez Sold Meth, Pimped Out Women in 2017
The “Alpha Dog” law-enforcement effort was built upon wiretap surveillance begun in 2016.
According to court documents and testimony, Chavez sold methamphetamine to a convicted codefendant, Robert Lockhart, on July 8, 2017. Convicted codefendant Amina Padilla stored methamphetamine for Chavez and gave a portion of what she had stored to convicted codefendant Carlos Melgar to deliver to Lockhart.
Three days later, agents served search warrants at Padilla’s and Lockhart’s apartments and seized methamphetamine from both.
Additionally, in June and July of 2017, Chavez was pimping a prostitute using the assistance of Padilla to post prostitution ads on the internet. Chavez invited convicted codefendants Carlos Montano and Miguel Murillo to join him in New York to engage in prostitution activities with each of their prostitutes.
On July 2, Chavez flew from California to New York with his prostitute. On July 18, Montano and Murillo flew from California to New York and engaged in prostitution activities.