Law enforcement agencies bust 14 more in drug dealing crackdown

Kent man named as high-level manager of group

Law enforcement agencies arrested another 14 people as part of an 18-month operation to break up a multi-state, international drug trafficking organization.

The U.S. Department of Justice released the latest update Thursday, including that officers took into custody Carlos Eduardo Lopez Hernandez, 22, of Kent, reportedly one of the local high-level managers of the drug trafficking group. Officers arrested a total of 43 people during the crackdown. Twenty-nine arrests were announced earlier this month.

The 80 search warrants in early December led to the seizure of more than 40 pounds of heroin, 8 pounds of fentanyl powder and 39 firearms, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers were involved in making arrests and serving search warrants targeting a multi-state drug trafficking network led by drug cartel members in Mexico. The drug trafficking organization distributing heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine was active in Washington State, New York, Arizona, Oregon, California, Tennessee and Utah.

In Western Washington the group distributed drugs in Pierce, Kitsap, King, Skagit and Snohomish counties. Over the course of the investigation law enforcement seized thousands of counterfeit oxycodone pills tainted with fentanyl, a powerful and potentially deadly opioid. Following one seizure from a vehicle, Washington State Patrol troopers were hospitalized for their accidental exposure during the investigation.

“Drug rings that peddle dangerous drugs – especially fentanyl masquerading as oxycodone pills – are a real and present danger in our communities,” U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes said. “When these rings are operated by cartels in Mexico, we will bring federal resources to bear every day of the week. I commend the hard work of all our federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners who banded together to take decisive action and protect our Western Washington cities and towns.”

On Dec. 5-7, law enforcement seized more than 40 pounds of heroin, 10,000 fake oxycodone pills containing fentanyl, 8 pounds of suspected fentanyl powder, 6.5 pounds of methamphetamine, 3 pounds of cocaine, 39 firearms and more than $435,000 in cash.

“The dangerous pills containing fentanyl flowing through this pipeline operated by this Western Washington distribution network has been shut down,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis. “Those profiting from pushing illicit opioids such as fentanyl and heroin into our most vulnerable communities will be met with a significant law enforcement response.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Courtesy photo
State demanded more drop boxes, and now it must pay for them

A King County judge says a law requiring more ballot boxes was an illegal unfunded mandate.

Auburn School District Superintendent Alan Spicciati. Courtesy photo
Students back in Auburn schools? ‘We are not there yet’

Auburn School District Superintendent Alan Spicciati wrote parents a letter to explain delay.

t
Murals dress up light rail station construction fencing in Kent | Photos

57 pieces decorate stretch of Pacific Highway South on West Hill

t
Shooting incidents on the rise in Kent compared to last year

93 shots fired reports so far in 2020 compared to 76 all of last year

t
Kent City Council approves funds for police data analysis consultant

Council also will fund research into mental health co-responder program

t
Boyce named Firefighter of the Year by Puget Sound Fire

Firefighter is former star athlete at Kentwood High School

t
Puget Sound Fire call report

Type, number of incidents

t
King County domestic violence homicides reach 16 so far this year

COVID-19 appears to impact incidents as previous two years had seven each

A Lunar Rover on the Moon surface. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent/Boeing
Lunar Rovers on the Moon slated to become Washington’s newest state historic landmarks

Virtual public hearing set for Oct. 23 on application by city of Kent

Most Read