Several of the firearms seized during a major drug bust in the Puget Sound area by law enforcement agencies. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent Police

Several of the firearms seized during a major drug bust in the Puget Sound area by law enforcement agencies. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent Police

Kent Police played key role in major drug busts

Chief Padilla says ‘their work led to the saving of lives and stopping violence’

Kent Police detectives and officers played a key role in the recent major drug busts by the DEA and other law enforcement agencies.

It was largely an undercover operation that targeted a large and dangerous drug trafficking network that operates from Mexico to the Puget Sound, according to police. The most recent bust included 14 arrests on Sept. 1 for drug trafficking as dealers distributed methamphetamines, heroin and fentanyl from Tacoma to Seattle as well as conducting business in Kent. A Kent man was one of the 14 arrested.

Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla said Kent officers played a significant role that resulted in numerous arrests, the seizure of drugs and the confiscation of many illegally owned firearms. The three operations over the last six weeks combined resulted in the seizure of over 300 pounds of methamphetamine, 55 pounds of heroin, 41,200 fentanyl pills, 30 firearms and more than $1.3 million in drug trafficker assets that are now all off the streets.

“I want to take a moment to recognize the courageous women and men who are the officers, detectives and special agents who are out there doing the dangerous work of developing these complex cases to stop violent criminal organizations,” Padilla said during a U.S. Department of Justice press conference Sept. 1 held at the parking garage next to Kent City Hall and the Kent Police Department. “They put themselves in the company of vial dangerous criminals, who have little regard for life, and they do so because they place their desire to protect our communities and our children above their own personal safety.

“Their names and faces will remain unpublicized (because of the undercover operation), but I wanted to highlight that their work led to the saving of lives and stopping violence. We know that their efforts in this particular case averted a murder, stopped a violent abduction and stopped further violence from occurring.”

Padilla said the Valley SWAT team that Kent is a member of worked with two additional SWAT teams to ensure that the suspects were arrested in the safest way possible for all involved.

Diane and Aaron Heinen, whose son Cal Heinen was killed by a fentanyl-tainted pill in November 2019, also spoke at the press conference. Cal Heinen was raised in Idaho but moved to Seattle about six months prior to his death.

The couple said their son unknowingly ingested a fentanyl tainted pill. They spoke in favor of pursing those that would harm communities by supplying deadly substances to our children.

Padilla said it’s important for parents to talk to their children about the threat that drug dealers represent and that they exist only to create personal wealth from the suffering of others who use the drugs.

Kent Police listed the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as a good source for tips and resources for parents to talk to their kids about drinking and drug use.

Reach the agency online at: https://www.samhsa.gov/underage-drinking/parent-resources/why-you-should-talk-your-child.


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An example of the drugs seized during recent busts in the Puget Sound area, including Kent. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent Police

An example of the drugs seized during recent busts in the Puget Sound area, including Kent. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent Police

Diane and Aaron Heinen, whose son Cal Heinen was killed by a fentanyl-tainted pill in November 2019, talk in Kent about the importance of police pursuing drug dealers. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent Police

Diane and Aaron Heinen, whose son Cal Heinen was killed by a fentanyl-tainted pill in November 2019, talk in Kent about the importance of police pursuing drug dealers. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent Police

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