A 26-year-old Kent man received an 11-year prison sentence for his role as a drug trafficker and debt collector for a cartel-connected drug distribution ring.
Jorge Mondragon was sentenced Dec. 14 in U.S. District Court in Seattle by Judge John C. Coughenour, according to a Dec. 14 news release from the U.S. Department of Justice. Mondragon pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
“Not only did Mr. Mondragon deal large amounts of meth and heroin, he also used violence and threats of violence on behalf of the drug ring,” U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said. “These drugs not only destroy the lives of those who use them, they also destroy the lives of the users’ families and friends who are forced to watch the toll these drugs take on their son, their daughter, their mother, their father, their friend.”
As early as 2020, investigators repeatedly intercepted calls and surveilled Mondragon dealing in large quantities of methamphetamine and heroin, according to the news release. They also intercepted Mondragon in multiple conversations about the possession and sale of firearms and engaging in acts of violent debt collection on behalf of the drug trafficking organization. At one point, investigators heard Mondragon plotting with others to kidnap another dealer.
“The efforts by all our partners in this investigation show our collective commitment to keep our communities free of illegal controlled substances and safe by preventing violent individuals like Mr. Mondragon from carrying out the acts he planned and conspired to commit,” said Jacob D. Galvan, Acting Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division.
In asking for an 11-year prison sentence prosecutors wrote to the court:
“Mondragon’s extensive involvement in gun possession and violence places him among the most violent individuals in this conspiracy,” according to prosecutors. “During the four months that law enforcement intercepted Mondragon’s activities, he engaged in multiple plots to kidnap and otherwise harm debtors, procured a seemingly endless supply of firearms for himself and organization leaders, was arrested three times for crimes (all of which involved gun possession), and agreed to ‘wheelchair’ an individual for money – a plan he appeared intent on executing when he was intercepted by law enforcement with a loaded gun on his way to do the job.”
Mondragon will be on supervised release for five years following his prison term.
This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces operation. The task force identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach, according to the news release.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Tacoma Resident Office in partnership with Tahoma Narcotics Enforcement Team, Kent Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, SeaTac Police Department, Thurston County Narcotics Team, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).