MAJOR DRUG BUST NETS EIGHT ARRESTS LINKED TO HEROIN, METH, COCAINE TRAFFICKING IN WASH. STATE
September 05, 2013
(SEATTLE, WA) In coordinated arrests Wednesday morning, the FBI, ATF, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Seattle Police Department took eight people into custody in an alleged wide-ranging drug trafficking conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney for Western Washington Jenny A. Durkan.
"Members of the conspiracy maintained drug stash houses throughout the Pacific Northwest. Search warrants were served...in Vancouver, Covington, Puyallup, SeaTac, Tukwila, Seattle, and Tacoma, Washington," according to information from the FBI.
A statement from the agency said some of the drug traffickers conducted their deals at a Mexican restaurant in the South Park neighborhood of Seattle, the Juan Colorado restaurant which was closed Wednesday while law enforcement searched the premises.
The defendants were scheduled to make initial court appearances Wednesay afternoon in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
“The members of this drug trafficking conspiracy brought meth, cocaine, and heroin to our communities, preying on those with addictions to line their own pockets,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan who added the lengthy investigation also led to seizures of illegal weapons as well as street drugs.
According to court records, the investigation of the drug trafficking organization began back in November 2011. Surveillance indicates the conspirators brought the drugs up from California and sold them at various locations ranging from auto wrecking yards in Auburn to outside restaurants at the Southcenter shopping mall.
Many of the drug deals were made in or around the Juan Colorado Mexican restaurant on 14th Avenue South, Seattle.
Members of the alleged drug conspiracy arrested Wednesday following their indictment by the grand jury for drug distribution include: Jose Ayala Mazoraquil, 39, of Tukwila, Washington; Alfonso Rojo Lopez, 26, and Joseph Edward Bell, 62, both of SeaTac, Washington; Pedro Velazquez Gomez, 27, and Benjamin Castro, 45, both of Seattle, Washington, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
Three people were arrested on criminal complaints: Victor Amaya Cruz, 40, of Auburn, Washington, for distribution of cocaine and methamphetamine and two additional defendants.
The charges contained in the indictment and complaints are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation and was led by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force including officers and agents from the Seattle Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).
The arrests also involved a number of law enforcement agencies including the King County Sherriff’s Office, Pierce County Sherriff’s Office, Tacoma Police Department, and the Valley SWAT Team (Renton, Kent, Tukwila and Auburn Police Departments). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jeffrey Backhus and Kate Crisham.