Major drug ring busted

Police take down large-scale, gang-related drug ring

After a nearly four-year investigation, a large gang-related drug ring was taken down in the North State Wednesday (May 4), according to a press release from Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey. “Operation Mario Brothers” targeted 56-year-old Mario Salazar, a man the Butte Interagency Narcotics Task Force believes to be a large-scale meth dealer in Chico. They linked Salazar to his son, Jose Salazar of Hamilton City, who allegedly had ties with a criminal street gang.

In the past few months, BINTF was joined by officers from dozens of agencies, including the FBI, ICE and several local jurisdictions. Round-the-clock surveillance on the Salazars provided identification of 15 people involved in drug trafficking as well as evidence that the younger Salazar was working to create a gang regiment in Butte and Glenn counties.

Wednesday marked the culmination of the effort, with officers serving search warrants on 20 people at 17 locations in Chico, Orland, Hamilton City, Rocklin, Yuba City and Sacramento.