A revolver-toting Rami Haddad met an acquaintance at the Kimpton Shorebreak Huntington Beach Resort on Feb. 4 and hoped to sell 100 pounds of methamphetamine, but that person turned out to be a confidential informant (CI) working for the FBI, according to a grand jury indictment.
Federal officials now allege Haddad, Steven Barragan Jr. and Ernest Tyrone Walton Jr. conspired to distribute the controlled substance in their possession.
Haddad, a Costa Mesa resident, also faces an additional charge of being armed with a loaded Rock Island Armory Model #206 while conducting illegal narcotics trafficking.
According to the FBI, the CI followed Haddad’s late January demand to pay $1,500 per pound as well as his instruction to supply $5,000 for a driver who would transport the meth across the Mexico-U.S. border at Tijuana.
Agents allege that Haddad and Barragan met to discuss how to dilute the meth with a cutting agent that would boost the weight (and, thus, profitability) of the drugs.
Before the rendezvous at the Kimpton, Haddad helped put a box containing 94 pounds of meth divided into heat-sealed plastic baggies in the trunk of Walton’s white Toyota Camry before it was driven to the stylish hotel’s parking garage off of Pacific Coast Highway, according to the FBI.
(No word yet on the destination of the missing six pounds.)
Later, court records assert, Barragan arrived at Haddad’s residence to take control of part or all of the $135,000 collected from the CI.
Following the FBI complaint, a federal grand jury issued an indictment against Haddad, who was born in 1979; Barragan (1981); and Walton (1982).
The case began inside Orange County’s Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in tight secrecy with U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Early granting a defense request to seal not just the FBI affidavit outlining the CI operation but also an audio recording of the first court hearing.
Officials have scheduled a March 11 session to push the case forward.
CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; obtained one of the last exclusive prison interviews with Charles Manson disciple Susan Atkins; won inclusion in Jeffrey Toobin’s The Best American Crime Reporting for his coverage of a white supremacist’s senseless murder of a beloved Vietnamese refugee; launched multi-year probes that resulted in the FBI arrests and convictions of the top three ranking members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department; and gained praise from New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.