A 28-year-old Kent man and a 30-year-old Federal Way man were among 12 members of an alleged drug trafficking group arrested Wednesday for distributing fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine throughout the Puget Sound region.
The members of the conspiracies engaged in trafficking activities from Mexico, through California and Oregon, and into the North Puget Sound region, according to a Aug. 5 U.S. Department of Justice news release. The arrests followed a year-long investigation and two grand jury indictments.
“During the course of this investigation agents seized more than 20,000 pills pressed to look like oxycodone, but actually tainted with fentanyl,” said U.S. Attorney Brian Moran. “I have had heartbreaking conversations with the parents of young people who died from fentanyl overdoses linked to counterfeit pills. We are making it a priority to get these deadly drugs off the streets.”
Others arrested as part of the North Sound drug ring included residents of Seattle, Burien, Bellingham, Mountlake Terrace, Bellevue and cities in Oregon and California. The indictments charge a range of drug trafficking crimes. Those arrested will appear Aug. 5-6 in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
“While most Puget Sound residents have been in ‘lockdown’ status because of the pandemic, our investigators and prosecutors continued pursuing those endangering our communities with indiscriminate sales of fentanyl tainted pills, heroin and methamphetamine,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis. “The tough job of removing this criminal organization was accomplished through the sheer determination and dedication to our community’s safety by our law enforcement professionals.”
Due to the drug quantities involved, some of the defendants, if found guilty, face potential mandatory minimum 10-year sentences. On Aug. 5, law enforcement seized nearly 6 pounds of methamphetamine, 8 pounds of heroin, 7,500 pills likely tainted with fentanyl, over $100,000 in cash, four firearms, and vehicles outfitted with “traps”—hiding places for smuggling drugs and money.