One of three individuals arrested in a drug bust in Berkeley last November has pleaded guilty to six federal counts of drug possession and intent to distribute, and could face a lengthy prison term.
Melvin Alexis Diaz Arteaga, 28, of Oakland entered guilty pleas on six counts last week of possession and intent to distribute fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine. Diaz Arteaga was arrested outside an apartment used as a stash house in Berkeley on November 16, 2022, and was found in possession of over 15 pounds of fentanyl along with lesser quantities of the other drugs.
On October 26, Senior U.S. District Judge the Hon. Charles R. Breyer accepted Diaz Arteaga's plea.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California, as part of the plea agreement, Diaz Arteaga admitted to using the Berkeley apartment to manufacture and store significant quantities of drugs for sale in the Tenderloin, among other locations. He also admitted that he sold, or arranged the sale of, fentanyl and methamphetamine to an undercover SFPD officer on four separate occasions between September 16, 2022, and October 5, 2022.
Diaz Arteaga also agreed to forfeit about $90,000 in cash that officers seized in the case, including nearly $42,000 found in his bedroom.
Diaz Arteaga was indicted in January alongside alleged co-conspirator Luis Almicar Erazo-Centeno, 31, of Oakland. It's unclear where Erazo-Centeno's case stands, and the Department of Justice says there is a third co-conspirator in the case as well.
He will face sentencing in February 2024, and could face 20 years to life in federal prison.
Maximum sentencing guidelines for several of the counts is 40 years.
Photo: An SFPD drug seizure in a separate case.