SAN RAFAEL (KPIX 5) – Authorities raided a small neighborhood market in San Rafael that allegedly sold methamphetamine and cocaine alongside milk and bread. Three people have been arrested, including the store’s owner.
Federal agents along with the Marin County Major Crimes task force raided the Azteca Market at 555 Francisco Boulevard East on Wednesday afternoon.READ MORE: UPDATE: Streets Flood in San Rafael, Mill Valley as Wild Storm Lashes Bay Area
“The FBI and police, they come yesterday around three or four – I don’t know what happened,” said Jimmy Lee, who owns the restaurant next door.
Agents searched throughout the market, including in piñatas and in the produce, for drugs. Authorities said the store and suspects Alfredo Lopez, Alejandro Miranda and Miguel Macias were under surveillance and unwittingly involved in undercover deals with agents for a year.
“Alfredo’s cool, he don’t mess around like that. It’s his store, so responsibility lies in his lap,” said Bruce McQueen, a customer at Azteca Market.READ MORE: Flooding In Santa Rosa Forces Evacuations in Bennett Valley Neighborhood
Sources told KPIX 5 that the trio is connected to the Caballeros Templarios cartel out of Western Mexico and that the store was merely a front for their operations.
“I never did see anybody shopping there, I saw people hanging out at the register, but I never actually saw anyone shopping,” said Barbara Reinerston of San Rafael.
During searches that happened simultaneously in San Rafael, Daly City, San Pablo and Hercules on Wednesday, undercover agents said they collected three pounds of cocaine, 11 weapons and methamphetamine.
Gregory Johnson, who lives at the harbor nearby told KPIX 5 that he was surprised. “That’s my little shopping place to go get food and the thing that absolutely amazes me is that they’re like family, they’ve just been gentlemen.”MORE NEWS: Atmospheric River: More Than 147,000 Affected by Widespread Bay Area Outages
All three suspects appeared in court in San Francisco on Thursday.