Bakersfield man faces life in prison for drug charges

While federal officials have gone after Jose Zambrano for drug charges, he was already convicted in Kern County court for solicitation to commit murder.

A Bakersfield man pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and heroin in federal court. 

U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert announced the guilty plea on Monday. 


Driving the news: According to court documents, Jose Luis Zambrano, 40, sold a pound of methamphetamine and nearly 12 ounces of heroin in four separate transactions from October 2016 to January 2017. 

  • A federal wiretap revealed that Zambranno supplied Manuel Teodoro Aros, 49, of Santa Maria, whom law enforcement seized an additional 2.5 pounds of methamphetamine from in March 2017. 
  • The wiretap also led to law enforcement taking another four ounces of heroin and nearly six pounds of methamphetamine intended for Zambrano in June 2017. 
  • Zambrano was previously convicted in Kern County Superior Court in May 2022 for solicitation to commit murder. 
  • Aros had also previously pleaded guilty to his involvement in conspiring with Zambrano and was sentenced to 13 years and eight months in prison. 

What we’re watching: Zambrano is scheduled to be sentenced in June 17 by U.S. District Judge Jennifer Thurston. 

  • He faces 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine. 
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