Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten made a splash in the newspapers on March 30 when he announced plans to extradite a jailed Mexican drug lord known as “Don Pepe” for trial on charges related to drug trafficking.
If the extradition proceeds as planned, Jose Antonio Medina, 36, will face numerous charges in a Ventura County courtroom, much of it gathered from wiretaps by a team of investigators.
The probe ranges up and down coastal California but it is centered on the Oxnard area and the distribution of black tar heroin and methamphetamine.
The prosecution of Medina represents one of the biggest blows struck in favor of public safety and economic development in our region in more than a decade. In the best-case scenario, bringing this drug lord to justice could help clean up Oxnard’s illegal drug trade and put a damper on gang activity.
Totten knows well what can happen when gangs are put on the defensive.
It was a crackdown on drug-dealing motorcycle gangs that cleaned up Main Street in Ventura and set the stage for that city’s rebirth.
Oxnard is bigger, and its gang problems are more widespread than those found in Ventura in the mid-1990s.
But the rewards for cleaning up Oxnard’s drug problems will also be huge. Oxnard has nearly 200,000 people and a history of being one of the more business-friendly cities around.
The bottom line is that a breakthrough on the public safety front could set the stage for significant jobs and income growth and a serious revitalization of the largest city in the Tri-Counties. We look forward to the extradition of Don Pepe and more details about his activities in and around Ventura County.