Thirty pounds of methamphetamine were seized in 2020 during a drug dealing investigation by law enforcement agencies in the Puget Sound region. A Kent man was sentenced May 10 to nine years in prison as part of the case. COURTESY FILE PHOTO, Drug Enforcement Administration

Thirty pounds of methamphetamine were seized in 2020 during a drug dealing investigation by law enforcement agencies in the Puget Sound region. A Kent man was sentenced May 10 to nine years in prison as part of the case. COURTESY FILE PHOTO, Drug Enforcement Administration

Kent man receives nine-year prison sentence for drug trafficking

Adrian Izazaga-Martinez known as high-ranking member of Mexican cartel

A 32-year-old Kent man received a nine-year prison sentence for his role as a high-ranking member of a violent drug-trafficking ring.

Adrian Izazaga-Martinez worked as a significant drug distributor for the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). He was sentenced Tuesday, May 10 in U.S. District Court in Seattle. He was ordering 8-pound loads of methamphetamine, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

U.S. District Judge John C. Cougheour said, “the size of the drug trafficking organization, the quantity of drugs, and the violence involved,” justify the long prison term.

Izazaga-Martinez pleaded guilty Feb. 8 to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

“Mr. Izazaga-Martinez was a high-level drug redistributor for a trafficking organization that was bringing upwards of 20-pound shipments of meth and heroin into our area,” U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said. “And along with the drugs they brought the violence – the violence we see from cartels in Mexico was brought to the drug trade in our district.”

According to records filed in the case, between September 2019 and December 2020, a multi-agency law enforcement team began investigating drug trafficking tied to the CJNG cartel. During the investigation, agents conducted thousands of hours of physical and electronic surveillance, secured tracking warrants for more than 100 telephones and/or vehicles, obtained authorization to intercept more than 25 target telephones and executed search warrants at drug trafficking organization members’ residences.

The investigation revealed the trafficking organization was bringing in large amounts of meth and heroin as well as fentanyl-laced pills and cocaine. The distribution ring operated in King, Snohomish, Lewis and Pierce counties. The investigation also revealed members of the ring were plotting assaults, kidnappings and intimidation using firearms – law enforcement had to intervene multiple times in an effort to prevent violence.

Izazaga-Martinez was heard on the telephone wiretaps discussing guns and threats. When he was arrested in Kent on July 28, 2020, he had nearly $2,500 in cash. Investigators found ammunition in the car he had been riding in.

In recommending an 11-year sentence, prosecutors noted that Izazaga-Martinez was repeatedly heard on the wiretap discussing guns and threats of violence. They also noted the huge amount of narcotics linked to the drug trafficking organization.

“The risks of synthetic opioids, like methamphetamine, are well documented – according to the University of Washington Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute, state drug poisonings went up by approximately 30% in 2020, with methamphetamine and other synthetic opioids (mostly fentanyl) comprising ‘a growing share of drug-caused deaths,’” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

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).

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

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