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FEATURE NEWS

Combined Federal & State Bust Of Drug Trafficking Ring Results In 35 Arrests In Puget Sound Area
June 07, 2018




File photo.
(SEATTLE, WA.) – In the fourth major drug trafficking ring takedown in as many months, federal, state and local law enforcement officers fanned out across King, Pierce, Snohomish, Skagit and Thurston Counties Wednesday to execute search warrants and arrest more than 35 members of an alleged drug trafficking organization, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. 

Wednesday’s arrests are the fourth takedown in a series of cases aimed at reducing drug and gang violence in Seattle, South King and North Pierce Counties.

“Over the last four months, more than 80 drug dealing conspirators moving meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl have been taken off our streets where they preyed on destructive addictions and used gun crime to further their trade,” said Hayes. “For more than a year, local police worked with federal partners to build these cases, with the goal of addressing the shifting crime problems in South Sound communities.”

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has directed U.S. Attorneys to deploy their resources to identify and address ‘hot spots’ of violent crime. Working with local law enforcement across the South Sound, federal law enforcement have dentified Seattle, the Rainier and Kent Valleys and North Pierce County as an area of concern for drug and gun crime.

Wednesday’s large operation comes on the heels of three other law enforcement efforts involving wire-taps and surveillance to dismantle sophisticated drug trafficking rings linked to violence in those areas. 

The first “takedown” involved five defendants who were allegedly trafficking crack cocaine in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood;  the second, in March resulted in twenty arrests of alleged heroin and meth traffickers operating primarily in South King County and the Tacoma area; and in May, a third takedown  dismantled two alleged criminal groups trafficking methamphetamine in south King County.

Combined, these four operations resulted in the seizure of 75 guns, more than 95 pounds of methamphetamine, more than 32 pounds of heroin, more than 7 pounds of cocaine (both crack and powder) as well as ecstasy and fentanyl. More than $327,000 in cash and 22 vehicles also were seized.

In Wednesday’s operation alone, alone law enforcement officers seized 12 pounds of heroin, more than 2 kilos of cocaine, a pound of methamphetamine, 124 pounds of marijuana, 41 firearms and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.

“DEA is in a race to save lives,” said Keith Weis the Special Agent in Charge for the Pacific Northwest.  “These strategic operations have stopped some of the most violent criminal groups operating throughout the Puget Sound Region from pushing dangerous drugs onto our communities most vulnerable members facing life or death struggles against addiction.”

According to records filed in the case, conspirators trafficked cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, illegal marijuana and fentanyl.  Associates of some of the traffickers arrested Wednesday were shot and some killed in various shooting incidents in both Seattle and south King County. 

“On the wiretap law enforcement heard conspirators talk about various shootings after they occurred, including the September 4, 2017 shooting outside a Renton hookah lounge.  Among other things, conspirators discussed getting firearms after being shot at by rival gangs,” said the statement from Hayes’ office.

The charges contained in the indictment 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.

The defendants in these cases face a variety of drug and gun charges. The penalties range from five years in prison to a maximum of life in prison depending on the pertinent charge.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer.





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